Introduction: Pheocromocytoma is a rare tumor arising from chromaffin cells of adrenal medullary or extra adrenal paraganglionic tissue. Histological criteria cannot differentiate benign from malignant pheocromocytomas. The diagnosis of a malignant pheocromocytoma requires local invasion, recurrence and documented metastatic disease. The radionuclide scanning (123I - 131I-MIBG) is a fundamental diagnostic tool used to confirm the biochemical and radiological diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. In fact, MIBG scanning may confirm that the visualised lesion in an adrenal gland is indeed a pheochromocytoma and detect extra-adrenal paraganglionic tissue. However, MIBG scans are negative in around 15% of benign pheochromocytomas and in up to 50% of malignant ones. Other radionuclide techniques (18FDG-PET, 18F-DOPA-PET, 18F-FDA-PET) have been successfully used in investigation of pheochromocytomas. 18F-DOPA-PET and 18F-FDA-PET have been reported to be highly sensitive and specific for benign pheochromocytomas, while 18FDG-PET can be useful for malignant lesions with higher metabolic activity.
Aim(s): To report the role of 18F-DOPA-PET in a clinical case of malignant pheochromocytoma.
Materials and methods: PET using 18(F)-DOPA was carried out in the nuclear medicine unit of our hospital.
Conference: 7th Annual ENETS Conference (2010)
Presenting Author: Prof. Laura De Marinis
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