Clinical and Translational Imaging

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 473–485 | Cite as

Biodistribution of 99mTc-MAA on SPECT/CT performed for 90Y-radioembolization therapy planning: a pictorial review

  • Jason J. Bailey
  • Y. Dewaraja
  • D. Hubers
  • R. Srinivasa
  • K. A. Frey
Pictorial Essay
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Radionuclide therapy



To evaluate the frequency of 99mTc-MAA uptake in extrahepatic organs during 90Y-radioembolization therapy planning.


This retrospective case series of 70 subjects who underwent 99mTc-MAA hepatic artery perfusion studies between January 2014 and July 2016 for 90Y-radioembolization therapy planning at our institution involved direct image review for all subjects, with endpoints recorded: lung shunt fraction, extrahepatic radiotracer uptake, time from MAA injection to imaging.


Combined planar and SPECT/CT imaging findings in the 70 subjects demonstrated lung shunt fraction measurements of less than 10% in 53 (76%) subjects and greater than 10% in 17 (24%) subjects. All patients demonstrated renal cortical uptake, 23 (33%) demonstrated salivary gland uptake, 23 (33%) demonstrated thyroid uptake, and 32 (46%) demonstrated gastric mucosal uptake, with significant overlap between these groups. The range of elapsed times between MAA injection and initial imaging was 41–138 min, with a mean of 92 min. There was no correlation between time to imaging and the presence of extrahepatic radiotracer uptake at any site.


During hepatic artery perfusion scanning for 90Y-radioembolization therapy planning, extrahepatic uptake is common, particularly in the kidney, salivary gland, thyroid and gastric mucosa, and is hypothesized to result from breakdown of 99mTc-MAA over time. Given the breakdown to smaller aggregates and ultimately pertechnetate, this should not be a contraindication to actual Y-90 microsphere therapy. Although we found no correlation between time to imaging and extrahepatic uptake, most of our injection-to-imaging times were relatively short.


Hepatic artery perfusion scintigraphy Y90 radioembolization Biodistribution Macroaggregated albumin 



One of the authors (YKD) would like to acknowledge support from grant R01 EB022075, awarded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Author contributions

JJB: literature search, literature review, writing, editing, content planning, data collection and management, protocol/project development; YD: literature review, editing, content planning, protocol/project development, data analysis; DH: literature review, editing, protocol/project development; RS: literature review, editing, content planning, protocol/project development; KAF: literature search, literature review, editing, content planning, data collection and management, protocol/project development.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No author has any conflict of interest, including Jason Bailey, Yuni Dewaraja, David Hubers, Ravi Srinivasa, and Kirk Frey.

Informed consent

This study was performed with IRB approval with waiver of informed consent and conformity to the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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