Twenty-six stage II/III malignant melanoma patients with 321 measurable metastatic lesions were imaged using Fab fragments of an IgG murine monoclonal antibody labeled specifically with 10-30 mCi Tc-99m with a bifunctional chelating method (NeoRx, Seattle, WA). There were no side effects or adverse reactions. Immunoscintigraphy demonstrated 66.6% of lesions larger than 1 cm and 92.5% of lesions larger than 3 cm. Most frequently detected metastases were in lymph nodes, subcutaneous areas, and bone. Of lesions less than 1 cm, 23.6% were detected if superficial cutaneous lesions were excluded. The smallest detectable lesion was 4 mm. Twenty-one additional clinically unsuspected sites were visualized in 12 of the 26 patients studied. Of these, 56% were confirmed as metastasis by other tests. There were apparent nonspecific localizations owing to other causes, including fracture, varicosities, skin abscess and pneumonitis. Increased experience in image analysis facilitates correct interpretation of these localizations. This study demonstrates that imaging with Tc-99m labeled antibody fragments detects melanoma lesions in organs routinely surveyed and in other areas not routinely assessed by other imaging techniques. The procedure is readily performed and safe. The principal advantage of the test is its ability to survey the entire body and all organs with a single test. Its principal limitation, in common with other diagnostic imaging procedures, is its poor sensitivity for detecting lesions less than 1 cm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging