18F-DOPA PET/CT Physiological Distribution and Pitfalls: Experience in 215 Patients

Ferdinando F. Calabria, Agostino Chiaravalloti, Marielise L. Jaffrain-Rea, Maddalena Zinzi, Pasqualina Sannino, Giuseppe Minniti, Domenico Rubello, Orazio Schillaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: F-DOPA PET/CT is potentially helpful in the management of patients with low-grade brain tumors, movement disorders, and somatic neuroendocrine tumors. We describe the whole-body physiological distribution of F-DOPA uptake. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We examined 215 patients with F-DOPA PET/CT. Among these, 161 had brain scans and 54 had whole-body scans. RESULTS: Physiological distribution was negligible in the brain, with the exception of basal ganglia, whereas greatest activity was noted in the liver, pancreas, other exocrine glands, and the urinary system. Incidental tracer uptake sites were identified in 5.5% of patients. Some of these findings were due to inflammation, whereas in most cases, uptake was seen in benign tumors of the brain or in the endocrine or exocrine glands. CONCLUSIONS: F-DOPA uptake may be seen in inflammatory tissue or benign tumors. Correlations with history, physical examination, laboratory examination, CT, MRI, and histology are necessary for optimal diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nuclear Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jul 23 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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