Nuclear medicine communications vol:22 issue:2 pages:225-31
Salivary gland scintigraphy (SGS) is used to depict salivary gland dysfunction after radiotherapy (RT). The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of SGS combined with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Twenty-one patients with a carcinoma of head and neck underwent SGS before and 1 month after RT. After injection of 370 MBq 99Tcm-pertechnetate, a biplanar dynamic acquisition (12 x 1 min) was started, followed by a SPECT acquisition during 4 min. Carbachol was then injected and a second dynamic study (16 x 1 min) was performed, again followed by a SPECT acquisition. The salivary excretion fraction (SEF) was calculated both from the geometric mean planar image for each parotid and from the SPECT data for each transverse plane through the parotids. The RT-induced changes in the SEF (dSEF) were correlated with the mean radiation dose calculated using tomography-based dosimetry. The mean radiation dose to the parotids was 44 Gy (range 4.4-68.1 Gy). The mean range of the variation in radiation dose to the transverse slices within the parotids of a patient was 24 Gy (range 6.2-51.9 Gy). Considering all transverse planes through the parotids in all patients, a linear correlation was found between the dSEF calculated using SGS-SPECT and the radiation dose (r=0.45, P=0.0001). Thirteen patients had a variation in radiation dose within the parotids of more than 20 Gy. In nine of these a significant intra-individual correlation between radiation dose and the dSEF of the transverse parotid slices was found (r range 0.55-0.97; P value range 0.037-0.0001). In conclusion, SGS-SPECT can be used for monitoring radiation-induced parotid gland dysfunction. It offers the unique possibility for the assessment of intra-individual dose-dysfunction curves in patients with large variations in the radiation dose within the parotids.