Comparison of 18F-DOPA, 18F-FDG and 68Ga-somatostatin analogue PET/CT in patients with recurrent medullary thyroid carcinoma

Giorgio Treglia, Paola Castaldi, Maria Felicia Villani, Germano Perotti, Chiara De Waure, Angelina Filice, Valentina Ambrosini, Nadia Cremonini, Monica Santimaria, Annibale Versari, Stefano Fanti, Alessandro Giordano, Vittoria Rufini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To retrospectively evaluate and compare 18F-FDG, 18F-DOPA and 68Ga-somatostatin analogues for PET/CT in patients with residual/recurrent medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) suspected on the basis of elevated serum calcitonin levels. Methods Included in the study were 18 patients with recurrent MTC in whom functional imaging with the three tracers was performed. The PET/CT results were compared on a per-patient basis and on a per-lesion-basis. Results At least one focus of abnormal uptake was observed on PET/CT in 13 patients with 18F-DOPA (72.2% sensitivity) , in 6 patients with 68Ga-somatostatin analogues (33.3%) and in 3 patients with 18F-FDG (16.7%) (p18F-DOPA and 18F-FDG PET/CT (p18F-DOPAand 68Ga-somatostatin analogue PET/CT (p00.04) . Overall, 72 lesions were identified on PET/CT with the three tracers. 18F-DOPA PET/CT detected 85% of lesions (61 of 72) , 68Ga-somatostatin analogue PET/CT 20% (14 of 72) and 18F-FDG PET/CT 28% (20 of 72) . There was a statistically significant difference in the number of lymph node, liver and bone lesions detected with the three tracers (p18F-DOPA PET/CT and 18F-FDG PET/CT (p18F-DOPA PET/ CT and 68Ga-somatostatin analogue PET/CT (p18F-DOPA PET/CT seems to be the most useful imaging method for detecting recurrent MTC lesions in patients with elevated serum calcitonin levels, performing better than 18F-FDG and 68Ga-somatostatin analogue PET/ CT. 18F-FDG may complement 18F-DOPA in patients with an aggressive tumour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Diagnosis
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumours
  • PET/CT
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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