A cutaneous false positive in radioiodine scintigraphy for metastatic thyroid cancer

Elizabeth A. McAninch, Rossana M. Calderon, Atil Y. Kargi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contamination of external sites with secretions or excretory products can mimic metastases and yield false positives in radioiodine whole-body scintigraphy for thyroid cancer. We present a case of a 26-year-old woman with differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma who received radioiodine 131 (I-131) for treatment of persistent upper mediastinal metastasis. Her post-treatment whole-body scintigraphy revealed an unexpected focus of increased uptake near the scalp in addition to the mediastinal lesion. Although the scalp is the most common site of cutaneous thyroid cancer metastasis, differentiated thyroid cancers rarely manifest with cutaneous thyroid cancer metastasis and thus it is prudent to consider etiologies of false positive I-131 uptake in such cases. Contamination of our patient's hair from salivary secretions was confirmed on history and with coiffure repositioning during whole-body scintigraphy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-38
Number of pages2
JournalUS Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Cutaneous metastasis
  • False positive
  • I-131
  • Radioiodine
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid scintigraphy
  • Whole-body scan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'A cutaneous false positive in radioiodine scintigraphy for metastatic thyroid cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this