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An MIBG scan is a test that helps locate and diagnose certain types of tumors. It can also show when cancer responds to therapy.
The letters MIBG stand for meta-iodobenzylguanidine. It is a protein that is absorbed by some tumors, particularly neuroblastoma. The scan can show neuroblastoma inside the body and when it has spread to the bone and other organs.
The test has 2 parts conducted over a 2-day period, but patients do not have to be admitted into the hospital for the test.
The first day of the test, patients receive an injection of a tracer, which is the MIBG compound combined with a very small amount of a radioactive substance (radioactive iodine). Neuroblastoma cells should absorb the tracer and show up when scanned. The second day of the procedure, patients have the scan, which uses a gamma camera that takes pictures of areas where the tracer has been absorbed. Doctors look for bright spots, which may indicate cancer.
The results of the scan will be interpreted by a nuclear medicine physician. The doctor will prepare a report and share it with the physician who ordered the test. The patient’s oncologist will share the results with the family.
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Reviewed: June 2018