Detection of metastatic lesions from malignant pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging: comparison with 18F-FDG positron emission tomography and 123I-MIBG scintigraphy

Akie Takano, Noboru Oriuchi, Yoshito Tsushima, Ayako Taketomi-Takahashi, Takahito Nakajima, Yukiko Arisaka, Tetsuya Higuchi, Makoto Amanuma, Keigo Endo
Annals of Nuclear Medicine 2008, 22 (5): 395-401

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the diagnostic features of whole-body diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) as compared with 2-[(18)F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) and (123)I-meta-iodo-benzyl guanidine scintigraphy (MIBG) on metastatic lesions of patients with malignant pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma.

METHODS: We prospectively studied 11 patients with histologically confirmed pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and possible metastatic lesions. FDG-PET, MIBG, and DWI examinations were performed within 1 week, and the images were visually interpreted. Abnormal positive uptake either on MIBG or on FDG-PET was considered as metastases. Abnormal high signal intensities on DWI were considered as metastases using conventional T1-and T2-weighted images as reference.

RESULTS: FDG-PET and DWI demonstrated metastatic lesions in all 11 patients, but MIBG showed no metastatic lesions in two patients. The numbers of lymph node metastases depicted on FDG-PET, MIBG, and DWI were 19, 6, and 39; bone metastases were 50, 49, and 60; liver metastases were 9, 9, and 15; lung metastases were 5, 7, and 5, respectively. MIBG failed to demonstrate many metastatic lesions, which were demonstrated on FDG-PET or DWI, although two mediastinal lymph node metastases, three lung metastases, and six bone metastases, which were not seen on DWI, were clearly demonstrated on MIBG. DWI showed 15 liver metastases, but 6 of them were not seen on FDG-PET or MIBG.

CONCLUSIONS: DWI may be particularly advantageous in depicting lymph node and liver metastases and may have a higher rate of detecting metastatic lesions when compared with MIBG or FDG-PET. The limitations of DWI were possible false-positive finding, and probable lower detectability of mediastinal lymph node and lung metastasis.

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