The role of 18F-FDOPA and 18F-FDG-PET in the management of malignant and multifocal phaeochromocytomas

D Taïeb, L Tessonnier, F Sebag, P Niccoli-Sire, I Morange, C Colavolpe, C De Micco, A Barlier, F F Palazzo, J F Henry, O Mundler
Clinical Endocrinology 2008, 69 (4): 580-6

BACKGROUND: (18)F-DOPA has emerged as a promising tool in the localization of chromaffin-tissue-derived tumours. Interestingly, phaeochromocytomas (PHEO) are also FDG avid.

AIM AND METHODS: The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the results of (18)F-FDOPA and/or (18)F-FDG-PET in patients with PHEO and paragangliomas (PGLs) and to compare the outcome of this approach with the traditional therapeutic work-up. Nine patients with non-MEN2 related PHEO or PGL were evaluated. At the time of the PET studies, the patients were classified into three groups based on their clinical history, conventional and SPECT imaging. The groups were malignant disease (n = 5, 1 VHL), apparently unique tumour site in patients with previous surgery (n = 1, SDHB) and multifocal tumours (n = 3, 1 VHL, 1 SDHD). (18)F-FDOPA and (18)F-FDG-PET PET/CT were then performed in all patients.

RESULTS: PET successfully identified additional tumour sites in five out of five patients with metastatic disease that had not been identified with SPECT + CI. Whilst tumour tracer uptake varied between patients it exhibited a consistently favourable residence time for delayed acquisitions. (18)F-FDOPA uptake (SUVmax) was superior to (18)F-FDG uptake in cases of neck PGL (three patients, four tumours). If only metastatic forms and abdominal PGLs were considered, (18)F-FDG provided additional information in three cases (two metastatic forms, one multifocal disease with SDHD mutation) compared to (18)F-FDOPA.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that tumour staging can be improved by combining (18)F-FDOPA and (18)F-FDG in the preoperative work-up of patients with abdominal and malignant PHEOs. (18)F-FDOPA is also an effective localization tool for neck PGLs. MIBG however, still has a role in these patients as MIBG and FDOPA images did not completely overlap.

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