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Prospective evaluation of 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT in limited disease neuroendocrine tumours and/or elevated serum neuroendocrine biomarkers.

CONTEXT: The 68 Ga-labelled somatostatin analogues (68 Ga-DOTA-SSAs) is becoming popular as an important diagnostic tool in neuroendocrine tumours as evidenced by a growing number of reports detailing institutional experience with various DOTA peptides. However, only few prospective studies have compared 68 Ga-DOTA-SSAs and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP-NETs) and pulmonary neuroendocrine tumours.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of our prospective study was to perform head-to-head comparison between 68  Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT and standard imaging work-up (SI) that included multiphasic CT, liver MRI and SRS using single photon emission computed tomography.

DESIGN: In this prospective study, the patients were enrolled only if they met any of the following inclusion criteria: (i) initial staging of a NETs without distant metastases on SI or neuroendocrine tumour with unknown primary on SI; (ii) restaging of NETs that could be treated by focused therapeutic interventions; (iii) elevated serum neuroendocrine hormones or peptides. The exclusion criteria was grade 3 GEP-NETs.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients were enrolled in the study. Eleven patients (6 pancreas, 4 ileum, 1 duodenal) were included for initial evaluation and staging of NETs, 8 patients (5 pancreas, 1 ileal, 1 lung, 1 duodenal gastrinoma) for restaging, and 13 patients for elevated serum neuroendocrine biomarkers (5 ectopic Cushing's syndrome, 5 organic hypoglycaemia, 1 patient each with elevated vasoactive inhibitory peptide, chromogranin A and neuron-specific enolase). 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT detected more primary tumours than SRS (15/18 vs 10/18: P = .074). The missed tumours on 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT were located in the lung in two cases and duodenum in one case. For other anatomical regions (nodal and distant metastasis), no statistical difference was observed between imaging modalities using 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT and SRS. Overall, 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT+CT+MRI detected 31/33 of the involved regions (including primaries) (29 and 22 for 68 Ga-DOTATATE and SRS, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Our study shows that 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT detected similar number of sites than combination of SRS, liver MRI and thoraco-abdominopelvic CT on region-based analysis. 68 Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT missed half of primary lung carcinoids with ectopic Cushing's syndrome.

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