Introduction: Heterogeneity of cartilage tumours may confound accurate diagnosis and grading resulting in under and over treatment. Improved preoperative assessment of malignancy and grade would be invaluable for developing a rational plan for treatment. We examined correlations between nuclear tracer avidity and malignancy grade in cartilage tumours. Methods: Between 1996 and 2000, 92 consecutive patients with cartilaginous tumours (50 benign, 42 non-metastatic malignant) underwent nuclear scanning. Thallium-201 (TL-201) and pentavalent dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSAV) were used as nuclear isotopes. Scanning with these agents was performed on separate days 48 hours apart. Static and SPECT images were obtained at 30 m and 4 h after injection of nuclear tracer. Pathology review was undertaken blinded to the results of the nuclear scans and correlations between histologic results and trace uptake at 4 hours examined. Results: 25 patients with negative DMSAV had benign tumours. 15/17 tumours with positive TL-201 had malignant tumours. 11/13 patients with both positive DMSAV and TL-201 scans had intermediate or high grade tumours and 4 of these developed metastases. We have developed an algorithm for the management of patients with tumours that aims to avoid over treatment of low grade tumours and under treatment of high grade tumours. Conclusion: Functional nuclear scanning with TL-201 and DMSAV complements other imaging modalities in the management of cartilaginous tumours.
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