Sialoscintigraphy - Shopworn or Bestselling? A Traditional Procedure with New Prominent Role in Theranostics and Immuno-Oncology
Sialoscintigraphy has been used in nuclear imaging for almost sixty years. It allows functional assessment and quantification of all large salivary glands. Physiological function of the salivary glands is essential for the preservation of the oral mucosa, the sense of taste and dental health. Impaired salivary gland function may lead to reduced or even absent salivation resulting in various complaints such as loss of taste reducing quality of life. During the recent years clinical relevance of assessment of salivary gland function has been rising. As novel radiopharmaceuticals such as 225Ac-PSMA or 177Lu-PSMA may cause damage to the salivary glands in a subset of patients, reliable methods for quantification of salivary gland function are vital for therapy planning and follow-up. Standardized protocols for the implementation and interpretation of this procedure are necessary to achieve comparable results from individual theranostic centers and to facilitate multicenter trials. Sialocintigraphy is also of clinical relevance for immunooncology. Treatments with checkpoint inhibitors such as Ipilimumab or Nivulomab frequently cause autoimmune disorders affecting the salivary glands that may lead to reduced production of saliva and finally loss of taste. Therefore, standardized procedure protocols for sialoscintigraphy are also important for general oncology.Here we suggest a protocol for sialoscintigraphy that may be used as standard in centers for theranostics or immunooncology and discuss the potential future role of this traditional procedure.