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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989 Jul;17(1):211-8.

Calculating radiation absorbed dose for pheochromocytoma tumors in 131-I MIBG therapy.

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  • 1Dept. of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Abor, MI 48109.


A protocol for calculating radiation absorbed dose to pheochromocytoma tumors during treatment with 131I-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is described. The technique calls for (a) obtaining tumor volumes from Computed Tomography and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (b) computing energy absorbed by assuming complete beta-particle absorption and a standard shape for gamma-ray absorption and (c) scaling from tracer to therapy dose rate by the ratio of administered activities. Also a 131I time-activity curve is obtained from planar, Anger-camera, conjugate-view images of the tumor and a known-strength source, both over a series of days. In addition, to correct for any systematic errors in the calculated uptakes, a larger activity of 123I MIBG is administered separately and quantitative Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) is undertaken. A known-strength source also undergoes SPECT to calibrate the tomograms. Correction for Compton scattering is accomplished by the dual-energy-window technique. The subtraction fraction was found to be 0.7 for the 1/2" crystal camera and the mean reduction in tumor counts for seven tumors from Compton correction was 0.76. The normalization factor needed to bring the conjugate-view activities into agreement with the SPECT values ranged from 0.74 to 1.06. A test study on an anthropomorphic phantom indicated that the error in resultant activities might be estimated as +/- 13%. Application of the protocol led to the calculation of real, or potential (when decision was finally made to not administer therapy) radiation absorbed dose to seven tumors in three patients from an administration of about 8 GBq of MIBG. For two metastatic tumors in a 19-year old patient who did not have her primary cancer resected, the calculated radiation absorbed dose was 170 and 180 Gy. For the four metastatic deposits evaluated in two older patients, both of whom had their primary tumor surgically removed, the values ranged from 18 to 31 Gy.

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