The role of 6-[18F]fluorodopamine positron emission tomography in the localization of adrenal pheochromocytoma associated with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome

Priya Kaji, Jorge A Carrasquillo, W Marston Linehan, Clara C Chen, Graeme Eisenhofer, Peter A Pinto, Edwin W Lai, Karel Pacak
European Journal of Endocrinology 2007, 156 (4): 483-7

OBJECTIVE: [(123/131)I]metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy is considered as the gold standard in the localization of pheochromocytoma. However, this method has less optimal sensitivity for the detection of pheochromocytoma associated with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL). Our preliminary results suggest that this is partially due to the low expression of cell membrane norepinephrine transporter system in VHL-related pheochromocytoma cells. Another probable cause may be the low affinity that [(123/131)I]MIBG has for these cells. Recently, 6-[(18)F]fluorodopamine ([(18)F]DA) positron emission tomography (PET) has been introduced as a novel functional imaging modality with high sensitivity for pheochromocytoma. Therefore, we investigated whether [(18)F]DA PET is more effective than [(123/131)I]MIBG scintigraphy in the diagnostic localization of VHL-related adrenal pheochromocytoma.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, we evaluated seven VHL patients in whom adrenal pheochromocytomas were confirmed by histopathology results. Adrenal pheochromocytomas were localized using computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), [(123/131)I]MIBG scintigraphy and [(18)F]DA PET.

RESULTS: [(18)F]DA PET localized pheochromocytoma in all the seven patients, as did in CT. In contrast, three out of the seven had negative results utilizing [(123/131)I]MIBG scintigraphy and one out of the six patients had negative MRI results.

CONCLUSIONS: [(18)F]DA PET was found to show more promising results when compared with [(123/131)I]MIBG scintigraphy in the diagnostic localization of VHL-related adrenal pheochromocytoma, with a 100% rate of localization. Thus, [(18)F]DA PET in conjunction with CT/MRI should be considered as an effective method for the proper localization of VHL-related adrenal pheochromocytoma.

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