Surgeries (Jul 2021)

Could Negative Tc-99m-Methoxyisobutylisonitrile (MIBI) Scintigraphy Obviate the Need for Surgery for Bethesda III and IV Thyroid Nodules?

  • Stella Armefti,
  • Jasmin Mettler,
  • Matthias Schmidt,
  • Michael Faust,
  • Marianne Engels,
  • Anne M. Schultheis,
  • Costanza Chiapponi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 26
pp. 260 – 267


Read online

In about 20% of all cases, the fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) results are equivocal, delivering the two common categories of indeterminate cytology, Bethesda III and IV. The observed rates of malignancy vary widely among institutions, with the urgent need for a more precise risk stratification. 99mcTc methoxyisobutylisonitrile scintigraphy (MIBI) is less expensive than molecular testing and has been shown to have a high negative predictive value. For this reason, the results of MIBI scintigraphy in adult patients with indeterminate FNAC were collected, and correlated with the final pathology reports of surgical specimens. Patients receiving FNAC, MIBI scintigraphy and surgery for sonographic suspicious hypofunctional thyroid nodules between 2015 and 2019 at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany were identified. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive value of MIBI scintigraphy were calculated. Seventy-eight patients with sonographic suspicious hypofunctional thyroid nodules underwent surgery after interdisciplinary case discussion of both FNAC and MIBI results. In 49 (62.5%) cases, FNAC consisted of Bethesda III and IV results. In 39 (79.6%) of these cases, MIBI scintigraphy resulted in mismatch and intermediary results, but in only 4 (10.2%) of these cases was a carcinoma diagnosed. The negative predictive value of MIBI scintigraphy was 90–100%, respectively. Relying on the negative predictive value of MIBI match results might have obviated the need for surgery in 20.4% cases; one papillary microcarcinoma, however, would have been missed. MIBI scintigraphy has an underused potential for improving the diagnostic precision of hypofunctional thyroid nodules.