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J Clin Oncol. 1998 Mar;16(3):1040-53.

Bone metastases in patients with gastrinomas: a prospective study of bone scanning, somatostatin receptor scanning, and magnetic resonance image in their detection, frequency, location, and effect of their detection on management.

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  • 1Digestive Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1804, USA.



To determine whether bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) is best for identifying bone metastases in patients with gastrinomas, as well as their frequency and location, whether their detection affects management, and what patient subgroups should be examined.


One hundred fifteen patients with gastrinoma were prospectively studied. Patients were examined yearly and those with liver metastases were reexamined every 3 months. Based on clinical history, histology, growth pattern, and development of new bone lesions, possible bone metastases were classified as to whether they were or were not bone metastases. Imaging results were correlated at different times in the disease course and with disease extent.


Bone scan was positive in 52 patients, MRI in seven, and SRS in six. Eight patients (7%) were determined to have bone metastases and MRI was correctly positive in seven, SRS in six, and bone scan in five. SRS or MRI was positive in all patients with bone metastases. Bone scan had significantly lower specificity and sensitivity, and a higher rate (P < .02) of false-negative results than MRI or SRS. Bone metastases occurred in 31% of patients with liver metastases and 0% with only lymph node metastases. The initial bone metastases were in the spine or sacrum (75%) followed in descending order by the pelvis or sacroiliac joints (38%), scapula or shoulder, and ribs. In all cases, detection of bone metastases changed the management.


SRS and MRI, because of high sensitivity and specificity, are recommended over bone scanning to screen for bone metastases in patients with gastrinomas. However, because bone metastases can occur initially outside the axial skeleton, SRS is the recommended initial localization method of choice. Bone metastases occur in 7% of all patients and 31% of patients with liver metastases, only occur in patients with liver metastases, are usually in the axial skeleton initially, and their detection changes management in all cases. Patients with pancreatic endocrine tumors with liver metastases should undergo SRS every 6 months to 1 year to detect bone metastases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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