DIAGNOSTICS, vol.12, no.6, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Tc- 99m-MIBI (MIBI) imaging is able to exclude malignancy of hypofunctioning thyroid nodules (TNs) with high probability but false positive results are frequent due to low specificity. Therefore, pre-test selection of appropriate TNs is crucial. For image evaluation visual and semiquantitative methods (Washout index, WOInd) are used. Aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of MIBI imaging in hypofunctioning TNs with indeterminate fine-needle aspiration cytology results in a multicentric European setting. Patients with hypofunctioning TNs, EU-TIRADS 4 or 5, Bethesda III/IV and MIBI imaging were included. For visual evaluation the intensity of MIBI uptake in the TN was compared to normal thyroid tissue. 358 patients with 365 TNs (n = 68 malignant) were included. Planar imaging (SPECT) showed a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of 96% (94%), 21% (22%), 22% (15%), 96% (96%), and 35% (32%). The WOInd (38.9% of all cases, optimal cutoff: -19%) showed a sens 100% (spec 89%, PPV 82%, NPV 100%, ACC 93%). For hypofunctioning TNs at intermediate or high risk with indeterminate cytology, a MIBI negative result on visual evaluation is an effective tool to rule-out thyroid malignancy. The semi-quantitative method could considerably improve overall diagnostic performance of MIBI imaging.