Radioisotopic scanning of brain, liver, lungs and the skeleton is briefly reviewed with a survey of recent developments of clinical significance. In brain scanning neoplasm detection rates of greater than 90% are claimed. The true figure is probably 70-80%. Autopsy data shows a number of false negatives, particularly with vascular lesions. Attempts to make scanning more specific in differentiating neoplasm from vascular lesions by rapid sequence blood flow studies are reviewed.
In liver scanning by means of colloids again high success rate is claimed but small metastases are frequently missed and the false negative scan rate is probably quite high.
Lung scanning still has its main place in investigating pulmonary embolic disease. Ventilation studies using Xenon 133 are useful, particularly combined with perfusion studies.
The various radiopharmaceuticals for use in bone scanning are reviewed. The appearance of technetium labelled phosphate compounds will probably allow much wider use of total skeletal scanning.
Research into tumour localizing agents continues, the most recent and interesting being Gallium citrate and labelled bleomycin. Neither agent is predictable however although Gallium may have a place in Hodgkins disease and bronchogenic neoplasm and both may have a place in the detection of cerebral tumours.