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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Mar 20;26(9):1489-95. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.1126.

Improved staging of patients with carcinoid and islet cell tumors with 18F-dihydroxy-phenyl-alanine and 11C-5-hydroxy-tryptophan positron emission tomography.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.



To evaluate and compare diagnostic sensitivity of positron emission tomography (PET) scanning in carcinoid and islet cell tumor patients with a serotonin and a catecholamine precursor as tracers.


Carcinoid (n = 24) or pancreatic islet cell tumor (n = 23) patients with at least one lesion on conventional imaging including somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) and computed tomography (CT) scan underwent (11)C-5-hydroxytryptophan ((11)C-5-HTP) PET and 6-[F-18]fluoro-L-dihydroxy-phenylalanine ((18)F-DOPA) PET. PET findings were compared with a composite reference standard derived from all available imaging along with clinical and cytologic/histologic information.


In carcinoid tumor patients, per-patient analysis showed sensitivities for (11)C-5-HTP PET, (18)F-DOPA PET, SRS, and CT of 100%, 96%, 86%, 96%, respectively, and in islet cell tumors of 100%, 89%, 78%, 87%, respectively. In carcinoid patients, per-lesion analysis revealed sensitivities for (11)C-5-HTP PET, (11)C-5-HTP PET/CT, (18)F-DOPA PET, (18)F-DOPA PET/CT, SRS, SRS/CT, and CT alone of, respectively, 78%, 89%, 87%, 98%, 49%, 73%, and 63% and in islet cell tumors of 67%, 96%, 41%, 80%, 46%, 77%, and 68%, respectively. In all carcinoid patients (18)F-DOPA PET and (11)C-5-HTP PET detected more lesions than SRS (P < .001). (11)C-5-HTP PET was superior to (18)F-DOPA PET in islet cell tumors (P < .0001). In all cases, CT improved the sensitivity of the nuclear scans.


(18)F-DOPA PET/CT is the optimal imaging modality for staging in carcinoid patients and (11)C-5-HTP PET/CT in islet cell tumor patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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