Unusual presentation of lumbar chordoma on bone scintigraphy in a young patient

Document Type : Case report


Nuclear Medicine Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran


Chordoma is a rare bone cancer which arises from undifferentiated notochordal remnants in the axial skeleton. It generally has slow-growing and locally aggressive behavior. This tumor is usually diagnosed by CT and MRI modalities and the role of SPECT/CT is still debated. It shows reduced or normal uptake of radioisotope on bone scanning and increased tracer uptake is infrequently reported. Here we present a 33-year-old man with complaint of low back pain and numbness of his right leg. The whole body bone scan showed relatively uniform radiotracer activity throughout the skeleton. A focal increased uptake in the second lumbar vertebra was noted on SPECT/CT images. SPECT/CT also demonstrated multiple lytic lesions in lumbar vertebrae. The lesions were proven to be chordoma on biopsy. Lumbar chordoma could be one of the differential diagnoses for lytic lesions of the vertebrae which show absent or minimal tracer uptake on bone scintigraphy and SPECT/CT imaging. Our case was unusual as the patient was very young for chordoma diagnosis and bone scan showed increased uptake adjacent to the involved vertebral lesion detected by SPECT/CT.


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