What are the most common findings on a bone scan that suggest metastatic disease?
Bone scan findings of metastatic disease most commonly have intensely increased radiotracer activity, either as a solitary focus or as multiple foci.
Widespread disease may appear as a “superscan,” in which all of the bones have diffusely intense radiotracer uptake. Cold, or photopenic, defects can be observed in patients with lytic osseous metastases. Because the sensitivity of bone scintigraphy is not 100%, scans may have negative results in the face of metastatic disease. Finally, metastatic disease can be observed in the soft tissues, including organs such as the lungs or liver.
Common Findings of Metastatic Disease on Bone Scintigraphy
- 1. Solitary focal lesion
- 2. Multiple focal lesions
- 3. “Superscan”
- 4. Photopenic (“cold” defect) lesions
- 5. Normal findings (i.e., false-negative results)
- 6. Soft tissue radiotracer uptake