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Nucl Med Commun. 2012 Jun;33(6):563-70. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e328351d566.

Molecular imaging of brain tumors with 18F-DOPA PET and PET/CT.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli (IS), Italy.


The objective of this study was to give an overview of the potential clinical utility of [18F]-L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-DOPA) PET and PET/CT for imaging of brain tumors. Review articles and reference lists were used to supplement the search findings. 18F-DOPA has been investigated as a PET tracer for primary brain tumors, metastases of somatic cancer, and evaluation of relapse of pathology in patients with brain tumor after surgery and/or radiotherapy on the basis of enhanced cell proliferation. Available studies have provided encouraging preliminary results for diagnosis of brain tumors and relapse after surgery/radiotherapy. In the brain, excellent discrimination between tumor and normal tissue can be achieved because of the low physiological uptake of 18F-DOPA and the high ratio between tumor and normal hemispheric tissue. Information on evaluation of brain metastases is limited but encouraging. PET and PET/CT with 18F-DOPA are useful in diagnosing primary brain tumors and should be recommended in the diagnosis of relapse of disease after surgical treatment and/or radiotherapy. Semiquantitative analysis could improve diagnosis while correlative imaging with MRI is essential. Limits are due to low knowledge of potential pitfalls.

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