Skeletal scintigraphy and radiography at onset of acute lymphocytic leukemia in children



99mTechnetium skeletal scintigraphy performed at the time of diagnosis was compared with pain and radiographs in 24 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Localized intense uptake of the labeled compound in one or several metaphyses and increased uptake in diaphyses were typical findings by scintigraphy. The skeleton of each child was subdivided into 18 regions, and investigated for the presence of pain and for possible radiographic and scintigraphic abnormalities. In a total of 432 regions (18 regions in each of 24 children), pain was present in 23 regions, radiographic anomalies in 54 regions, and abnormal technetium uptake in 98 regions. Signs and symptoms were most often found in the lower extremities. Pain and radiographic or scintigraphic abnormalities were not regularly found in the same skeletal regions. The individual number of radiographic abnormalities was negatively correlated with age, whereas the number of regions with abnormal technetium uptake was positively correlated with age. No significant correlation was found between the number of abnormal scintigraphic or radiographic regions and the clinical outcome of the disease.