JOURNAL ARTICLE

Discordant localization of 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose in 6-[18F]-fluorodopamine- and [(123)I]-metaiodobenzylguanidine-negative metastatic pheochromocytoma sites

Marcelo Mamede, Jorge A Carrasquillo, Clara C Chen, Pedro Del Corral, Millie Whatley, Ioannis Ilias, Alejandro Ayala, Karel Pacak
Nuclear Medicine Communications 2006, 27 (1): 31-6
16340721

BACKGROUND: Although the majority of pheochromocytomas (PHEO) are benign, a subset is malignant. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) localize PHEO with high sensitivity but, because of limited specificity, [(131)I]- or [(123)I]-metaiodobenzylguanidine ([(131)I]- or [(123)I]-MIBG) is often used as a complementary agent. 6-[18F]-fluorodopamine ([18F]-DA) has been developed as a radiopharmaceutical for the targeting of noradrenergic pathways, and has been shown to result in a better detection rate of PHEO sites than MIBG; however, [18F]-DA has shown a lack of accumulation in some patients with metastatic PHEO.

METHODS: Five patients with widespread metastatic PHEO who had CT and MRI evidence of metastatic disease (one man and four women; age range, 25-64 years), and who underwent imaging with [(123)I]-MIBG, [18F]-DA and 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ([18F]-FDG), were evaluated retrospectively. Tomographic imaging was performed and positron emission tomography (PET) images were inspected visually and quantitatively.

RESULTS: All five patients had [(123)I]-MIBG scans that grossly underestimated the extent of disease when compared with conventional CT and MRI. All lesions seen on [(123)I]-MIBG scans were detected on [18F]-DA scans, which also detected additional lesions. Nonetheless, [18F]-DA also failed to detect numerous lesions seen on CT and MRI. In all of these cases, [18F]-FDG PET showed lesions that were not detected on either [(123)I]-MIBG or [18F]-DA scans.

CONCLUSIONS: When [(123)I]-MIBG or [18F]-DA fails to localize lesions seen on conventional imaging studies, [18F]-FDG may be recommended as an ancillary test for the diagnosis and localization of metastatic PHEO. This is particularly important in patients with aggressive PHEO.

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