The Value of Technetium-99m Labeled Alpha-Melanocyte- Stimulating Hormone (99mTc-α-MSH) in Diagnosis of Primary and Metastatic Lesions of Malignant Melanoma

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Vali-Asr Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Research Center for Nuclear Medicine, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of General Surgery, Cancer Research Center, Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Radiation Application Research School, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

5 Nuclear Medicine Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Objective(s): Malignant melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancers with unfavorable prognosis. Alpha-MSH peptide analogues have a high affinity for melanocortine-1 (MC1) receptors on melanocytes over
expressing in malignant melanoma cells. Pre-clinical studies have shown promising results for radiolabeled MSH imaging in this malignancy. The purpose of this study is to assess the diagnostic value of 99mTc-α-MSH
imaging in malignant melanoma.
Methods: Twenty-one patients (13 men) with pathologically confirmed malignant melanoma with or without metastatic distribution were included in this study. 740-1110 MBq 99mTc-α-MSH was injected and whole body scans were performed 20, 120 and 240 minutes post injection and were assessed both qualitatively and semi-quantitatively using target (T) to background (BG) ratio.
Results: The T/BG ratio for the primary tumor bed was 2.51±2.26, 2.56±2.48 and 1.92±1.79 minutes in the whole body scans 20, 120 and 240 minutes post injection, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, negative
and positive predictive values were 75%, 80%, 50% and 92% for primary lesion and 25%, 100%, 68% and 100% for distant metastasis, respectively.
Conclusion: 99mTc-α-MSH is a newly introduced agent for diagnosis of tumoral lesions in malignant melanoma. Our study showed a high sensitivity with this modality in primary lesions as well as lymph node
involvements. However the detection rate was not high in distant metastasis. The preliminary results are promising especially as a new complementary imaging method in management of malignant melanoma.


Main Subjects

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