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J Nucl Med. 2012 Mar;53(3):393-8. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.111.095711. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Impact of 3,4-dihydroxy-6-18F-fluoro-L-phenylalanine PET/CT on managing patients with brain tumors: the referring physician's perspective.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


We investigated the impact of (18)F-DOPA brain PET/CT on the clinical management of patients with known or suspected brain tumors.


A prospective survey of referring physicians was conducted. A pre-PET questionnaire inquired about indication, tumor histology or grade, level of suspicion for tumor recurrence, and planned management. Early post-PET questionnaires asked referring physicians to categorize PET findings as negative, equivocal, or positive; assessed the level of suspicion for primary or recurrent brain tumor; and recorded intended management changes prompted by PET findings. A late follow-up questionnaire 6 mo after the scan aimed at determining patient outcome (recurrence, survival). In addition, all referring physicians were contacted to determine whether management changes intended after (18)F-DOPA PET/CT were implemented.


Fifty-eight consecutive patients were included. The clinical suspicion for recurrence increased in 33%, remained unchanged in 50%, and decreased in 17% of patients after adding the PET/CT result to the available diagnostic data. The late post-PET questionnaire confirmed recurrence in 26 patients whereas 32 had stable disease or remained disease-free. (18)F-DOPA PET/CT resulted in intended management changes in 41% of patients. Changes in intended management from wait and watch to chemotherapy (6 patients [25%]) and from chemotherapy to wait and watch (4 patients [17%]) occurred most frequently. Clinical follow-up revealed that 75% of intended treatment changes were implemented.


(18)F-DOPA PET/CT changed the intended management of 41% of patients with brain tumors, and intended management changes were implemented in 75% of these. These changes suggest a potentially important clinical role of imaging amino acid transport in the management of brain tumor patients.

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