Potential role of 18F-DOPA PET in neuroblastoma

Arnoldo Piccardo, Egesta Lopci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


18F-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) is the radio-labelled analogue of DOPA, a precursor of dopamine and catecholamines. It is a multivalent molecule that is widely used for functional imaging of various neural crest tumors, documenting a better diagnostic accuracy compared to 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-mIBG) scintigraphy and other conventional imaging modalities. Neuroblastoma (NB) is an embryonic tumor deriving from the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, commonly included into the vast group of neural crest tumors. So, it maintains the ability to produce and release biologically active amines and in most cases is characterized by an increased metabolism of catecholamines. 123I-mIBG scintigraphy represents a “cornerstone” in the assessment of NB at initial diagnosis, (re)staging and treatment response evaluation. Nevertheless this modality presents several drawbacks, thus leading the necessity to find “new” tools for the assessment of NB. 18F-DOPA is probably the most promising PET alternative to 123I-MIBG in NB and published data, although apparently limited, seem to support this hypothesis. For the current review we have performed a revision of the literature to find relevant published articles concerning the diagnostic and clinical significance of 18F-DOPA PET in the evaluation of patients with NB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Translational Imaging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Diagnosis
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Prognosis
  • Response to therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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