Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Home | About IJNM | Search | Current Issue | Past Issues | Instructions | Ahead of Print | Online submissionLogin 
Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
  Editorial Board | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact
Users Online: 136 Print this page  Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size

 Table of Contents     
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 202-204  

Febrile renal transplant recipient with discordant findings of 99m Tc-Leukoscan (Sulesomab) and 67 Ga-citrate scan in pyelonephritis

Department of Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography, Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication1-Feb-2013

Correspondence Address:
Rajnath Jaiswar
Department of Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography, Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Center, 12, Marine Lines, Mumbai-400 020, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.106712

Rights and Permissions

Nuclear medicine techniques like 99m Tc-Leukoscan and 67 Ga-citrate scan have been used in localizing infectious pathologies in renal transplant patients. We present an interesting case of febrile renal transplant with discordant findings of tracer uptake in the transplant kidney on 99m Tc-Leukoscan and 67 Ga-citrate scan.

Keywords: 67 Ga-Citrate scan, 99m Tc-leukoscan, pyelonephritis, renal transplant

How to cite this article:
Sonavane ST, Marwah A, Jaiswar R. Febrile renal transplant recipient with discordant findings of 99m Tc-Leukoscan (Sulesomab) and 67 Ga-citrate scan in pyelonephritis. Indian J Nucl Med 2011;26:202-4

How to cite this URL:
Sonavane ST, Marwah A, Jaiswar R. Febrile renal transplant recipient with discordant findings of 99m Tc-Leukoscan (Sulesomab) and 67 Ga-citrate scan in pyelonephritis. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Aug 18];26:202-4. Available from:

   Introduction Top

67 Ga-citrate scan is commonly used to localize soft tissue infectious foci. It is a non-specific tracer that localises at sites of infection and inflammation. 99m Tc-leukoscan is also used as a specific imaging tool for infection imaging. We present a case of febrile renal transplant that showed discordant findings on 67 Ga-citrate scan and 99m Tc-leukoscan. These investigations act in a complementary manner and help in accurately defining sites of infection.

   Case Report Top

Single 19-year-old male, a renal transplant recipient presented with history of fever with gradual rise in the white blood counts (WBC) and serum creatinine over 2 months. The patient underwent pre-emptive renal transplant a year ago as he was diagnosed to have chronic kidney disease with bilateral reflux nephropathy. Post-renal transplant the patient was on regular immunosuppressant therapy with steroids for 10 months, he started having episodes of febrile illness since 2 months. Patient developed complications of miliary tuberculosis with recurrent secondary evidence of pseudomonal urinary tract infection for which apart from steroids, immunosuppressants, he was started on AKT (Anti-tubercular medication containing ethambutol 500mg, isoniazid 300mg, pyrazinamide 750mg and rifampicin 450mg), antibiotics and antihypertensives. On examination there was tenderness in right loin. The ultrasound revealed unremarkable both native kidneys and normal sized transplant kidney with prominent cortices. Blood investigations revealed raised WBC, normal biochemistry tests, marginally raised cyclosporine levels, Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) was negative. Urine routine examinations revealed 15-20 pus cells and urine culture showed rich growth of pseudomonas aeruginosa.

A dose of 740 MBq (20 mCi) of 99m Tc-Sulesomab ( 99m Tc-Leukoscan) was injected intravenously and planar early as well as delayed whole body images were acquired in anterior and posterior projections at 2 h and 24 h respectively. Following this a dose of 148 MBq (4mCi) of 67 Ga-Citrate was injected intravenously and planar whole body anterior and posterior images were acquired at 48 h.

99m Tc-Leukoscan [Figure 1] revealed the transplant renal graft located in the right iliac fossa, appears normal in size and reveals inhomogeneous radiotracer uptake. It revealed relatively reduced radiotracer uptake in the upper pole (two areas) and in the lower pole (single area) with normal physiological uptake in the midpole region (functioning renal parenchyma revealing normal excretory phase). There is a faint visualization of the native right kidney in the 2 h and 24 h images. The native left kidney is not visualized throughout the study. Normal biodistribution of 99m Tc-Sulesomab is seen in salivary glands, liver, spleen, blood pool, bone marrow, bladder and gut.
Figure 1: Wholebody anterior and posterior images acquired at 2 h and 24 h post-injection of 740 MBq of 99mTc-leukoscan, scan findings of areas of relatively reduced radiotracer uptake seen involving the upper pole (two) and lower pole (one) of transplant kidney and the faint visualization of the native right kidney

Click here to view

67 Ga-Citrate scintigraphy [Figure 2] acquired at 48 h revealed abnormal diffuse accumulation of tracer in the native right kidney and two focal areas of increased tracer uptake involving the upper pole and a focal area of tracer uptake in the lower pole of the transplanted kidney (corresponding to the relatively reduced radiotracer uptake areas seen on 99m Tc-Leukoscan).
Figure 2: Wholebody anterior and posterior images acquired at 48 h post-injection of 148 MBq 67Ga-Citrate, scan findings of areas of increased radiotracer uptake seen involving the superior pole (two) and inferior pole (one) of transplant kidney and the faint visualization of the native right kidney suggestive of pyelonephritic involvement

Click here to view

This report shows diffuse pyelonephritic involvement of the native right kidney, the upper and lower poles of transplant kidney revealing discordance in uptake in 99m Tc-leukoscan and 67 Ga-Citrate scan in the transplant kidney.

   Discussion Top

99m Tc-anti-NCA (Nonspecific cross-reacting antigen) -90 Fab' (LeukoScan) antigranulocyte antibody and 67 Ga-citrate are approved radiopharmaceuticals for imaging inflammation/infection. [1] 99m Tc-Sulesomab (LeukoScan) and Gallium-67 scanning (one of the comparators) both require a single injection. [2] Neither of these procedures requires blood handling. [2] 67 Ga-citrate due to its physical characteristics (multiple photons energy; long half life) and binding to the plasma protein transferrin (resulting in relatively high background and therefore reduced lesion-to-background contrast), it was less than ideal as an imaging agent. [1] Wolfgang Becker, et al., concluded that immunoscintigraphy with 99m Tc-NCA-QO Fab' fragments offers rapid localization of foci, rapid and simple use, a negligible HAMA (Human anti-mouse antibody) response rate, no effect on granulocyte function and an accuracy comparable to WBC scanning. [2] It is approved for the imaging of infections and inflammations in patients with suspected osteomyelitis, [3] and is being investigated for other purposes like the detection of soft tissue infections. [4] The study of Skehan, et al., elucidated some important points: The monoclonal Fab' antibody of 99m Tc-sulesomab does not significantly bind to circulating quiescent granulocytes (<5% binding). [5] Despite specific binding of 99m Tc-sulesomab to primed and activated granulocytes in the infectious site, the prevalent mechanism of 99m Tc-sulesomab accumulation is related simply to the non-specific increase of capillary permeability. [5] In our case report, the transplant kidney revealed relatively reduced leukoscan uptake in the superior and inferior poles, decreased radiotracer uptake at abnormal site compared to the rest of the kidney could be secondary to non-specific increase of capillary permeability and thereby washout of leukoscan tracer from pyelonephritic involvement site. Gallium scan revealed discordance of tracer uptake than seen on the leukoscan.

The risk of infections is not significantly increased in patients with normoglycaemia. [6] Vice versa, severe infections lead to increased secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol, catecholamines, glucagon and growth hormone and to insulin resistance, thereby aggravating glycaemic control. [6],[7],[8] Finally, a vicious circle ensues, in which infections aggravate hyperglycaemia, which, in turn, perpetuates the susceptibility to infections. [6],[7],[8] In our case the patient was non-diabetic young post-renal transplant recipient on immunosuppressants thereby suppressing the immune system and increasing patients susceptibility to infections. In our patient scans revealed pyelonephritic involvement at three distinct areas in the transplant kidney and in native right kidney.

In a recent prospective study by Rubello, et al, [9] the protocol used was early (4 h) and delayed (24 h) acquisition of 99m Tc-sulesomab images. Specifically, a pattern of increasing uptake was judged as infection (true-positive result), whereas a pattern of decreasing uptake was judged as non-specific early accumulation (false-positive result). [9] By adopting these interpretation criteria, they obtained a significantly improved specificity for the 99m Tc-sulesomab examination 75% versus 87.5% in patients with diabetic foot infection and 76.2% versus 85.7% in patients with other peripheral bone infections or prosthetic joints. [9] The Fab' fragment is directed against NCA-90, a homotypic adhesion molecule. [10] The sensitivity of immunoscintigraphy in the study with small patient series was 88%. This compares well to the 80% sensitivity reported for 67 Ga, [11] 99m Tc-nanocolloids [12] at 93%, 111 ln-oxine granulocytes at 93% in the diagnosis of peripheral osteomyelitis [13] and 111 In-HIG (Human polyclonal immunoglobulin G) at 86% in the diabetic foot with infection. [14] Specificity of 67 Ga has been reported to be 83%; 99m Tc-nanocolloid has been 88%; [12] 111 ln-oxine labeled granulocytes has been 85%; [13] and 111 In-HIG has been 84% [14] in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis.

Patients with acute pyelonephritis may present with a spectrum of clinical signs and symptoms. There are few non-invasive diagnostic studies, however, to confirm or exclude this diagnosis. [15] A small number of patients, generally those with severe disease, will demonstrate radiographic changes on excretory urography, but the lack of sensitivity of the IVP (Intravenous pyelography) in early, acute pyelonephritis is well documented. [15] Several radionuclide techniques have been proposed to assist in the earlier detection of this clinical problem including imaging with Mercury-197 chlormerodrin, Gallium-67 citrate, Technetium-99m glucoheptonate, Technetium-99m DMSA (Dimercapto Succinic acid), and more recently, Indium-111 labeled white blood cells. [15] There appears to be a complimentary role for the cortical imaging agents and the radiopharmaceuticals which localize in bacterial infection. [15] Cortical agents offer the advantage of specific assessment of functioning renal tissue and a convenient, rapid method for following the response to treatment in a non-invasive manner. [15] A pattern is described which may be diagnostic; correlation with Gallium-67 citrate or Indium-111 WBCs may increase the probability of infection as the cause for the cortical abnormality. [15]

   References Top

1.Goldsmith SJ, Vallabhajosula S. Clinically proven radiopharmaceuticals for infection imaging: Mechanisms and applications. Semin Nucl Med 2009;39:2-10.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Becker W, Bair J, Behr T, Repp R, Streckenbach H, Beck H, et al. Detection of soft-tissue infections and osteomyelitis using a technetium-99m-labeled anti-granulocyte monoclonal antibody fragment. J Nucl Med 1994;35:1436-43.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.EMEA: Summary of product characteristics (Leukoscan). European medicines agency (updated in February 2007)  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Quigley AM, Gnanasegaran G, Buscombe JR, Hilson AJ. Technetium-99m-labelled sulesomab (LeukoScan) in the evaluation of soft tissue infections. Med Princ Pract 2008;17:447-52.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Skehan SJ, White JF, Evans JW, Parry-Jones DR, Solanki CK, Ballinger JR, et al. Mechanism of accumulation of 99m Tc-sulesomab in inflammation. J Nucl Med 2003;44:11-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Peleg AY, Weerarathna T, McCarthy JS, Davis TM. Common infections in diabetes: Pathogenesis, management and relationship to glycaemic control. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 2007;23:3-13.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Rayfield EJ, Ault MJ, Keusch GT, Brothers MJ, Nechemias C, Smith H. Infection and diabetes: The case for glucose control. Am J Med 1982;72:439-50.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Moutschen M. Alterations in natural immunity and risk of infection in patients with diabetes mellitus. Rev Med Liege 2005;60:541-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Rubello D, Casara D, Maran A, Avogaro A, Tiengo A, Muzzio PC. Role of anti-granulocyte Fab′ fragment antibody scintigraphy (LeukoScan) in evaluating bone infection: acquisition protocol, interpretation criteria and clinical results. Nucl Med Commun 2004;25:39-47.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Benchimol S, Fuks A, Jothy S, Beauchemin N, Shirota K, Stanners CP. Carcinoembryonic antigen, a human tumor marker, functions as an intercellular adhesion molecule. Cell 1989;57:327-34.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Al-Sheikh W, Sfakianakis GN, Mnaymneh W, Hourani M, Heal A, Duncan RC, et al. Subacute and chronic bone infections: Diagnosis using In-111, Ga-67 and Tc-99m MDP bone scintigraphy, and radiography. Radiology 1985;155:501-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.De Schrijver M, Streule K, Senekowitsch R, Fridrich R. Scintigraphy of inflammation with nanometer-sized colloidal tracers. Nucl Med Commun 1987;8:895-908.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Schauwecker DS. Osteomyelitis: Diagnosis with In-111-labeled leukocytes. Radiology 1989;171:141-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Oyen WJ, Netten PM, Lemmens JA, Claessens RA, Lutterman JA, van der Vliet JA, et al. Evaluation of infectious diabetic foot complications with indium-111-labeled human nonspecific immunoglobulin G. J Nucl Med 1992;33:1330-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Handmaker H. Nuclear renal imaging in acute pyelonephritis. Semin Nucl Med 1982;12:246-53.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded89    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal