Orbital scintigraphy with [111In-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid- D-Phe1]-octreotide predicts the clinical response to corticosteroid therapy in patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy

Annamaria Colao, Secondo Lastoria, Diego Ferone, Rosario Pivonello, Paolo E. Macchia, Patrizia Vassallo, Giulio Bonavolontá, Pietro Muto, Gaetano Lombardi, Gianfranco Fenzi

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Corticosteroid treatment is successfully used in Graves' ophthalmopathy, and its effect varies according to the phase of the disease. The infiltration of the orbit by activated lymphocytes may explain the effectiveness of corticosteroid therapy. Scintigraphy with [111InDTPA-D-Phe1]-octreotide was recently used to reveal the presence of activated lymphocytes in foci of autoimmune diseases, because elevated amounts of somatostatin receptors are expressed in the surface of these cells. The aim of the current study was to evaluate whether the degree of orbital [111In-DTPA-D-Phe1] -octreotide uptake is able to predict the response to corticosteroid therapy in patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy. Ten patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy entered the study. In all patients scintigraphy was performed, and subsequently, corticosteroid therapy (methylprednisolone, 1 g iv for 2 consecutive days a week for 6 weeks) was given. Clinical activity of Graves' ophthalmopathy was evaluated before and after treatment by calculating the ophthalmopathy index (OI). Planar and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) images of the head were obtained 24 h after the iv injection of 120-190 MBq of [111In-DTPA-D-Phe1]-octreotide. Radioligand uptake within each orbit (O) and brain (B) was measured using the region of interests (ROI) method and the O-to-B ratio was determined. According to the O-to-B ratio, the images were classified using the following three points score: 0 = O-to-B ratio ≤ 1; 1 = O-to-B ratio between 1 and 2.5; 2 = O-to-B ratio ≥2.5. The value of OI, measured before and after corticosteroid treatment, was correlated to the scintigraphic score. A significant change of OI was observed between posttreatment and pretreatment evaluation both in orbits with score 2 (OI: 15.4 ± 1.5 vs. 9.6 ± 0.5, P <0.005) and in those with score 1 or 0 (OI: 12.9 ± 1.5 vs. 11.5 ± 1.4, P <0.05) at the scintigraphy. However, when the OI was calculated excluding the changes in the soft tissue, which generally occur in all patients independently from the phase of the disease, a significant change of OI was observed only in the orbits with score 2 (OI: 12.9 ± 1.3 vs. 8.3 ± 0.5, P <0.01) but not in those with score 0 or 1 (OI: 11.2 ± 1.3 vs. 10.4 ± 1.3). In particular, 6 weeks after corticosteroid treatment, the patients with orbital score 2 at the scintigraphy had a significant improvement of soft tissue changes, proptosis, lagophthalmos, extraocular muscle movements impairment, and diplopia, whereas patients with score 0 or 1 had only a significant improvement of the soft tissue inflammation. In conclusion, the current preliminary data suggested that [111InDTPA-D-Phe1]-octreotide scintigraphy is able to predict the clinical response to corticosteroid treatment in patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy, and may be considered an useful approach to select the patients for the proper treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3790-3794
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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