68Ga-DOTATOC PET/CT in the localization of head and neck paraganglioma compared with 18F-DOPA PET/CT and 123I-MIBG SPECT/CT

Alexander Stephan Kroiss, Christian Uprimny, Barry Lynn Shulkin, Leonhard Gruber, Andreas Frech, Christoph Url, Herbert Riechelmann, Georg Mathias Sprinzl, Claudius Thomé, Giorgio Treglia, Andreas Kjaer, Gustav Fraedrich, Irene Johanna Virgolini

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

12 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: 18F-Fluoro-L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-DOPA) PET offers high sensitivity and specificity in the imaging of non-malignant head and neck paraganglioma (HNPGL) but lower sensitivity in metastatic disease of these neuroendocrine tumours (NET). In contrast to the radiotracer 18F-DOPA, both 123I-meta-iodo-benzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) and 68Ga-DOTA-Tyr3-octreotide (68Ga-DOTA-TOC) offer valuable clinical information on norepinephrine and somatostatin (SST) receptor status for planning 131I-MIBG and radionuclide peptide therapy (PRRT), respectively. Therefore, we compared 68Ga-DOTA-TOC and 18F-DOPA PET/CT with 123I-MIBG planar and SPECT/CT imaging, for the detection of HNPGL. Combined cross-sectional imaging was the reference standard.

METHODS: A total of 3 men and 7 women (age range 22 to 73 years) with anatomical and/or histologically proven HNPGL were included in this study. Of these patients, 3 patients had metastatic HNPGL. Comparative evaluation included morphological imaging with CT and functional imaging with 68Ga-DOTA-TOC and 18F-DOPA PET, including 123I-MIBG imaging. The imaging results were analysed on a per-patient and per-lesion basis.

RESULTS: On a per-patient analysis, the detection rate of both 68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET/CT and 18F-DOPA PET/CT was 100%, that of planar 123I-MIBG imaging 10.0% and that of SPECT/CT 20.0%. On a per-lesion basis and in reference to diagnostic CT, the sensitivity of 68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET/CT was 100% (McNemar, P < 0.5), that of 18F-DOPA PET/CT was 66.7% (McNemar, P < 0.01), that of planar 123I-MIBG imaging was 3.7% (McNemar, P < 0.0001), and that of SPECT/CT was 7.4% (McNemar, P < 0.0001) in HNPGL. Overall, 68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET identified 29 lesions and anatomical imaging identified 27 lesions. 18F-DOPA PET identified 18 lesions, whereas planar 123I-MIBG imaging identified 1 lesion and SPECT/CT 2 lesions.

CONCLUSION: 68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET/CT is superior for imaging, non-malignant and metastatic HNPGL compared to 18F-DOPA PET/CT and planar 123I-MIBG imaging, including SPECT/CT, particularly in bone lesions. Combined functional/anatomical imaging (68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET/CT) enables excellent delineation of tumour extent in these rare tumour entities. Compared to 123I-MIBG scintigraphy, 68Ga-DOTA-TOC PET appears far more useful for planning radionuclide therapy in patients with surgically inoperable tumours or metastatic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine/analogs & derivatives
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octreotide/analogs & derivatives
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Paraganglioma, Extra-Adrenal/diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/methods
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography/methods
  • Head and neck paraganglioma
  • F-DOPA
  • I-MIBG
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging
  • Cancer Research


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