Correlation of multimodal 18F-DOPA PET and conventional MRI with treatment response and survival in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas

Giovanni Morana, Domenico Tortora, Gianluca Bottoni, Matteo Puntoni, Gianluca Piatelli, Federica Garibotto, Salvina Barra, Flavio Giannelli, Angelina Cistaro, Mariasavina Severino, Antonio Verrico, Claudia Milanaccio, Maura Massimino, Maria Luisa Garrè, Andrea Rossi, Arnoldo Piccardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate the contribution of 18F-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 18F-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, 18F-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 18F-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 18F-DOPA uptake Tumor/Striatum (T/S) ratio >1 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 18F-DOPA uptake overlapped with regions demonstrating more prominent residual components/lack of response following treatment. Conclusions: 18F-DOPA PET provides useful information for evaluating the metabolism of DIPGs. T/S ratio is an independent predictor of outcome. 18F-DOPA uptake extent delineates tumoral regions with a more aggressive biological behaviour, less sensitive to first line treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11881-11891
Number of pages11
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Diffuse midline glioma
  • DIPG
  • MRI
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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