To evaluate the contribution of (18)F-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) PET in association with conventional MRI in predicting treatment response and survival outcome of pediatric patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs). Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 19 children with newly diagnosed DIPGs who underwent (18)F-DOPA PET/CT and conventional MRI within one week of each other at admission and subsequent MRI follow-up. Following co-registration and fusion of PET and MRI, (18)F-DOPA uptake avidity and extent (PET tumor volume and uniformity) at admission, along with MRI indices including presence of ring contrast-enhancement, tumor volume at admission and at maximum response following first-line treatment, were evaluated and correlated with overall survival (OS). The association between (18)F-DOPA uptake tumor volume at admission and MRI tumor volume following treatment was evaluated. Statistics included Wilcoxon signed-rank and Mann-Whitney U tests, Kaplan-Meier OS curve and Cox analysis. Results: DIPGs with a (18)F-DOPA uptake Tumor/Striatum (T/S) ratio textgreater1 presented an OS ≤ 12 months and lower degree of tumor volume reduction following treatment (p = 0.001). On multivariate analysis, T/S (p = 0.001), ring enhancement (p = 0.01) and the degree of MRI tumor volume reduction (p = 0.01) independently correlated with OS. In all patients, areas of increased (18)F-DOPA uptake overlapped with regions demonstrating more prominent residual components/lack of response following treatment. Conclusions: (18)F-DOPA PET provides useful information for evaluating the metabolism of DIPGs. T/S ratio is an independent predictor of outcome. (18)F-DOPA uptake extent delineates tumoral regions with a more aggressive biological behaviour, less sensitive to first line treatment.
- *diffuse midline glioma
- *DOPA PET