18F-DOPA PET/CT biodistribution consideration in 107 consecutive patients with neuroendocrine tumours.

Department of Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT Center, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital Rovigo, Rovigo, Italy.
Nuclear Medicine Communications (Impact Factor: 1.37). 11/2011; 33(2):179-84. DOI: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e32834e0974
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT L-6-fluoro 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-DOPA), an amino acid-based radiopharmaceutical, is increasingly being used in the detection and management of neuroendocrine tumours. Knowledge of the normal biodistribution of this radiopharmaceutical is essential for the proper interpretation of such studies, but the literature available is scanty due to the rarity of these tumours. The aim of this study is to evaluate the biodistribution pattern and normal variants of 18F-DOPA in a cohort of patients with neuroendocrine tumours using semiquantitative analysis (maximum standardized uptake value).
We analysed 107 consecutive 18F-DOPA PET/CT studies of patients referred with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (43), phaeochromocytoma including cases of Von Hippel Lindau syndrome and multiple endocrine neoplasia type IIA cases (34), paraganglioma (14) and other neuroendocrine tumours (16). The study population were divided into two groups: those with negative 18F-DOPA PET/CT scans (32) and those with positive scans (75). The biodistribution of 18F-DOPA in each group was measured and compared between the two groups.
The physiological biodistribution in the basal ganglia and liver parenchyma showed no variability between the two groups. Conversely, uptake in the pancreas (particularly the uncinate process) and adrenals showed considerable variability between the groups. However, these differences were found not to be significant on statistical analysis.
The data presented may provide useful information in understanding the physiologic biodistribution of DOPA and its variants, for the purpose of improving the interpretation of 18F-DOPA PET/CT.

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