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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 161-162  

Tc99m-MDP uptake in ascitic fluid in a patient with prostate carcinoma: A clue to detect metastases

Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Date of Web Publication28-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
Bhagwant Rai Mittal
Department of Nuclear Medicine, PGIMER, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.104003

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Bone scintigraphy with Tc-99m methylene diphosphonate (MDP) is used to detect metastases in patients with cancer. Uptake in non-osseous, non-urologic tissues is occasionally found in the routine bone scintigraphy, which may mimic as metastatic lesions. The authors describe the case of a 70-year-old man with prostate cancer, showing diffuse tracer uptake in the left hemithorax and entire abdomen on bone scan that required additional imaging modality for localization. Careful interpretation is needed of the unusual uptake of radiotracer in regions other than the skeleton for metastatic work up.

Keywords: Ascitic uptake, prostate cancer, SPECT/CT, Tc-99m MDP bone scintigraphy

How to cite this article:
Chakraborty D, Manohar K, Kamleshwaran KK, Bhattacharya A, Singh B, Mittal BR. Tc99m-MDP uptake in ascitic fluid in a patient with prostate carcinoma: A clue to detect metastases. Indian J Nucl Med 2011;26:161-2

How to cite this URL:
Chakraborty D, Manohar K, Kamleshwaran KK, Bhattacharya A, Singh B, Mittal BR. Tc99m-MDP uptake in ascitic fluid in a patient with prostate carcinoma: A clue to detect metastases. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Aug 13];26:161-2. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Most common sites of metastatic disease in prostate cancer are bones, lymph nodes, and lungs. Malignant pleural or peritoneal effusions are extremely rare. Abdominal and/or pleural cavity spread is manifestation of advanced malignant disease and is associated with a poor prognosis. Tc99m bone scintigraphy used to detect bone metastasis may show uptake in non-osseous, non-urologic tissues also representing metastatic lesions

   Case Report Top

A 70-year-old man of carcinoma prostate with rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) was subjected to bone scan for the assessment of possible metastatic bone disease. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) demonstrated enlarged prostate with periprostatic infiltration. Tc-99m methylene diphosphonate (MDP) bone scan showed abnormal radiotracer uptake in the abdomen and left hemithorax, not corresponding to the skeleton [Figure 1]a and b. Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/CT images of abdomen [Figure 1]c and thorax [Figure 1]d localized increased tracer uptake to the pleural and ascitic fluid, respectively.
Figure 1: Whole body Tc-99m MDP bone scan (a) anterior and (b) posterior view showing abnormal radiotracer uptake in the abdomen and left hemithorax, which does not correspond to any part of the skeleton. SPECT/CT images of abdomen (c) and thorax (d) localize increased tracer uptake to the ascitic and pleural fluid, respectively

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   Discussion Top

Carcinoma of the prostate is predominantly a tumor of older men. It can metastasize to nearly every organ, but metastasis without bone involvement is rare. Most common sites of metastatic disease are bones, lymph nodes, and lungs. Uncommon sites of metastatic disease include adrenal gland, kidney, brain, pancreas, genitalia, and breasts. Malignant effusions, whether pleural or peritoneal, are extremely rare. [1] Abdominal cavity spread was documented by Hess et al. in 3 of 316 metastatic prostate cancer patients, mostly in conjunction with skeletal and nodal spread. [2] Broghamer et al. described a series of 33 patients with carcinoma of prostate and the ascites. [3] It is a manifestation of advanced malignant disease and is associated with a poor prognosis.

Ultrasound is reliable in the detection of ascites, being able to detect as little as 100 mL of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. [4] CT and MRI are also effective at detecting ascites. [5] A positive cytology result confirms a malignant etiology in ascites and is extremely specific. [6] Increased Tc-99m MDP uptake in extra-osseous sites, including pleural and pericardial effusion, is also reported in the literature. [7] It is due to extracellular fluid expansion, enhanced regional vascularity and permeability, and elevated tissue calcium concentration. The composition of the calcium deposition and the presence of other metallic ions (e.g. iron and magnesium) are also important. Neoplastic, hormonal, inflammatory, ischemic, traumatic, excretory and artifactual causes have been demonstrated to account for the extra-osseous Tc-99mTc MDP uptake. [8] Recognition of the pathophysiologic basis underlying ascetic fluid MDP uptake can enhance the interpretation and diagnostic value of bone scintigraphy. Use of SPECT/CT helps in precise localization of the diffuse tracer uptake.

In the present case, the patient underwent bone scintigraphy that did not show skeletal metastases. However, the diffuse abdominal and left hemithorax uptake may be due to malignant effusion. To further elucidate the tracer uptake in that region, additional SPECT/CT was taken which showed localization of tracer uptake to the ascitic and pleural fluid. Ascitic fluid cytology subsequently revealed metastatic adenocarcinoma. The unusual presentation illustrates metastatic involvement without skeletal pathology that may be present in scintigraphic bone imaging.

   References Top

1.Arnheim FK. Carcinoma of the prostate: A study of the post-mortem findings in one hundred and seventy- six cases. J Urol 1948;60:599-603.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Hess KR, Varadhachary JR, Taylor SH, Wei W, Raber MN, Lenzi R, et al. Metastatic pattern in adenocarcinoma. Cancer 2006;106:1624-33.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Broghamer WL Jr, Richardson ME, Faurest S, Parker JE. PAP immunoperoxidase staining of cytologically positive effusions associate with adenocarcinoma of the prostate and neoplasms of undetermined origin. Acta Cytologic 1985;29:272-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Campbell WL. R/o ascites. In: Straub WH, editor. Manual of Diagnostic Imaging. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1989. p. 166-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Brant WE. Abdomen and pelvis. In: Brant WE, Helms CA, editors. Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology., Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1994. p. 661-81.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Parsons SL, Watson SA, Steele RJC. Malignant ascites. Br J Surg 1996;83:61.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Gordon L, Schabel SI, Holland RD, Cooper JF. 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate accumulation in ascitic fluid due to neoplasm. Radiology 1981;139:699-702.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Peller PJ, Ho VB, Kransdorf MJ. Extraosseous Tc-99m MDP uptake: A pathophysiologic approach. Radiographics 1993;13:715-34.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1]

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