¹²³I-MIBG scintigraphy/SPECT versus ¹⁸F-FDG PET in paediatric neuroblastoma

Henriette Ingrid Melzer, Eva Coppenrath, Irene Schmid, Michael H Albert, Dietrich von Schweinitz, Coral Tudball, Peter Bartenstein, Thomas Pfluger
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2011, 38 (9): 1648-58

PURPOSE: To analyse different uptake patterns in (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy/SPECT imaging and (18)F-FDG PET in paediatric neuroblastoma patients.

METHODS: We compared 23 (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy scans and 23 (18)F-FDG PET scans (mean interval 10 days) in 19 patients with a suspected neuroblastic tumour (16 neuroblastoma, 1 ganglioneuroblastoma, 1 ganglioneuroma and 1 opsomyoclonus syndrome). SPECT images of the abdomen or other tumour-affected regions were available in all patients. Indications for (18)F-FDG PET were a (123)I-MIBG-negative tumour, a discrepancy in (123)I-MIBG uptake compared to the morphological imaging or imaging results inconsistent with clinical findings. A lesion was found by (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy and/or (18)F-FDG PET and/or morphological imaging.

RESULTS: A total of 58 suspicious lesions (mean lesion diameter 3.8 cm) were evaluated and 18 were confirmed by histology and 40 by clinical follow-up. The sensitivities of (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy and (18)F-FDG PET were 50% and 78% and the specificities were 75% and 92%, respectively. False-positive results (three (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy, one (18)F-FDG PET) were due to physiological uptake or posttherapy changes. False-negative results (23 (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy, 10 (18)F-FDG PET) were due to low uptake and small lesion size. Combined (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy/(18)F-FDG PET imaging showed the highest sensitivity of 85%. In 34 lesions the (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy and morphological imaging findings were discrepant. (18)F-FDG PET correctly identified 32 of the discrepant findings. Two bone/bone marrow metastases were missed by (18)F-FDG PET.

CONCLUSION: (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy and (18)F-FDG PET showed noticeable differences in their uptake patterns. (18)F-FDG PET was more sensitive and specific for the detection of neuroblastoma lesions. Our findings suggest that a (18)F-FDG PET scan may be useful in the event of discrepant or inconclusive findings on (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy/SPECT and morphological imaging.

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