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J Nucl Med. 2011 Apr;52(4):519-25. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.110.083303. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

18F-FDG PET/CT and 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine imaging in high-risk neuroblastoma: diagnostic comparison and survival analysis.

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  • 1Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College London Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


The aim of our study was to evaluate prospectively the diagnostic performance and prognostic significance of (18)F-FDG PET/CT in comparison with (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ((123)I-MIBG) imaging in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.


Twenty-eight patients with refractory or relapsed high-risk neuroblastoma (16 male and 12 female patients; age range, 2-45 y; median age, 7.5 y) were simultaneously evaluated with (18)F-FDG PET/CT and (123)I-MIBG imaging before treatment with high-dose (131)I-MIBG. We compared the 2 methods in mapping tumor load, according to the extent of disease and intensity of positive lesions identified in each patient. Separate comparisons were performed for the soft-tissue and bone-bone marrow components of tumor burden. Survival analysis was performed to assess the prognostic significance of (18)F-FDG and (123)I-MIBG imaging parameters.


(18)F-FDG PET/CT results were positive in 24 of 28 (86%) patients, whereas (123)I-MIBG imaging results were positive in all patients. (18)F-FDG was superior in mapping tumor load in 4 of 28 (14%) patients, whereas (123)I-MIBG was better in 12 of 28 (43%) patients. In the remaining 12 (43%) patients, no major differences were noted between the 2 modalities. (18)F-FDG PET/CT missed 5 cases of bone-bone marrow disease, 4 cases of soft-tissue disease, and 6 cases of skull involvement that were positive on (123)I-MIBG scans. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that the group of patients (4/28) in whom (18)F-FDG was superior to (123)I-MIBG had a significantly lower survival rate than the others. Tumoral avidity for (18)F-FDG (maximum standardized uptake value) and extent of (18)F-FDG-avid bone-bone marrow disease were identified as adverse prognostic factors.


(123)I-MIBG imaging is superior to (18)F-FDG PET/CT in the assessment of disease extent in high-risk neuroblastoma. However, (18)F-FDG PET/CT has significant prognostic implications in these patients.

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