Open Access Open Badges Research article

Evaluation of the clinical value of bone metabolic parameters for the screening of osseous metastases compared to bone scintigraphy

Johann Schoenberger*, Silke Rozeboom, Eva Wirthgen-Beyer and Christoph Eilles

Author Affiliations

Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Regensburg, Germany

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BMC Nuclear Medicine 2004, 4:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2385-4-3

Published: 4 December 2004



Bone metastases are common in many types of cancer. As screening methods different imaging modalities are available. A new approach for the screening of osseous metastases represents the measurement of bone metabolic markers. Therefore aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of the determination of bone metabolic markers aminoterminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP, osteoblastic activity) and the carboxyterminal pyridinoline cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen (ICTP, osteoclastic activity) for the detection of bone metastases associated with other malignancies.


88 patients aged 21 – 82 years with malignant tumors were prospectively studied. The serum concentrations of PINP and ICTP were measured and compared to the results of bone scintigraphy, radiological bone series, CT, MRI and clinical follow-up.


Osseous metastases were found in 21 patients. 19 of them were correctly identified by bone scintigraphy (sensitivity: 90%). For bone metabolic markers results were as follows: ICTP sensitivity: 71%, specificity: 42%; PINP sensitivity: 24%, specificity: 96%.


As markers of bone metabolism PINP and ICTP showed low sensitivity and/or specificity for the detection of osseous metastases. The presented markers did not seem to be sufficient enough to identify patients with bone metastases or to replace established screening methods.