What is the role of bone scintigraphy in the workup of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

The skeletal system is common site of metastases for lung cancers. If patients report bone pain or if their serum calcium and/or alkaline phosphatase levels are elevated, a bone scan should be obtained to search for bone metastases (see the image below).

Lung cancer, small cell. Whole-body nuclear medici Lung cancer, small cell. Whole-body nuclear medicine bone scanning with anterior and posterior images reveal multiple abnormal areas of increased radiotracer activity in the pelvis, spine, ribs, and left scapula. These findings are consistent with bony metastatic disease. The bones are commonly affected in patients with small-cell lung cancer.

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