Context: Catecholamine excess is rare, but symptoms may be life threatening.
Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the sensitivity of 6-[F-18]fluoro-L-dihydroxyphenylalanine positron emission tomography (F-18-DOPAPET), compared with I-123-metaiodobenzylguanidine (I-123-MIBG) scintigraphy and computer tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for tumor localization in patients with catecholamine excess.
Design and Setting: All consecutive patients with catecholamine excess visiting the University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, between March 2003 and January 2008 were eligible.
Patients: Forty-eight patients were included. The final diagnosis was pheochromocytoma in 40, adrenal hyperplasia in two, paraganglioma in two, ganglioneuroma in one, and unknown in three.
Main Outcome Measures: Sensitivities and discordancy between F-18-DOPA PET, I-123-MIBG, and CT or MRI were analyzed for individual patients and lesions. Metanephrines and 3-methoxytyramine in plasma and urine and uptake of F-18-DOPA with PET were measured to determine the whole-body metabolic burden and correlated with biochemical tumor activity. The gold standard was a composite reference standard.
Results: F-18-DOPA PET showed lesions in 43 patients, I-123-MIBG in 31, and CT/MRI in 32. Patient-based sensitivity for F-18-DOPA PET, I-123-MIBG, and CT/MRI was 90, 65, and 67% (P <0.01 for F-18-DOPA PET vs. both I-123-MIBG and CT/MRI, P = 1.0 I-123-MIBG vs. CT/MRI). Lesion-based sensitivities were 73, 48, and 44% (P <0.001 for F-18-DOPA PET vs. both I-123-MIBG and CT/MRI, P = 0.51 I-123-MIBG vs. CT/MRI). The combination of F-18-DOPA PET with CT/MRI was superior to I-123-MIBG with CT/MRI (93 vs. 76%, P <0.001). Whole-body metabolic burden measured with F-18-DOPA PET correlated with plasma normetanephrine (r = 0.82), urinary normetanephrine (r = 0.84), and metanephrine (r = 0.57).
Conclusion: To localize tumors causing catecholamine excess, F-18-DOPA PET is superior to I-123-MIBG scintigraphy and CT/MRI. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 94: 3922-3930, 2009)
- METASTATIC PHEOCHROMOCYTOMA