Molecular imaging of brain tumors with radiolabeled choline PET

Ferdinando Franco Calabria, Manlio Barbarisi, Vincenzo Gangemi, Giovanni Grillea, Giuseppe Lucio Cascini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceuticals have been emerged in the last decade as feasible in the management of brain lesions, due to the low performance in this field of the 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose (18F-FDG), for its high physiological gradient of distribution in the brain. Beyond its usefulness in prostate cancer imaging, the radiolabeled choline is becoming a promising tool in diagnosing benign and malignant lesions of the brain, due to a very low rate of distribution in normal white and grey matters. The aim of our review was to assess the real impact of the radiolabeled choline PET/CT in the management of brain benign lesions, brain tumors, and metastases. Furthermore, emphasis was given to the comparison between the radiolabeled choline and the other radiopharmaceuticals in this field. A literature review was performed. The radiolabeled choline is useful in the management of patients with suspected brain tumor relapse, especially in association with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with caution regarding its intrinsic characteristic of non-tumor-specific tracer. For the same reason, it is not useful in the early evaluation of brain lesions. Similar results are reported for other radiopharmaceuticals. The inclusion of the head in the whole-body scans for somatic tumors is necessary to ensure metastases in the brain or choline-avid benign lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalNeurosurgical Review
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • 18F-FDG
  • Brain tumors
  • Choline
  • Molecular imaging
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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