68Ga-DOTANOC and 18F-FDG PET/CT in metastatic medullary thyroid carcinoma: novel correlations with tumoral biomarkers
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Metastatic disease is common in medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) and it is usually detected by raising calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels. Nuclear medicine imaging has an important role in lesion identification/characterisation. We aim to compare 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT and 18F-FDG PET/CT performance and to explore the correlations between tumoral markers and functional imaging.
This a retrospective cross-sectional study including 13 patients with MTC and high calcitonin/CEA levels that underwent both 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT and 18F-FDG PET/CT.
68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT identified MTC metastases in 2twopatients that were 18F-FDG-negative (sensitivity of 69.2% vs. 53.9%, respectively). 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT also detected a higher number of lesions than 18F-FDG PET/CT in seven patients, with only one patient showing the opposite pattern. Both differences lacked statistical significance (p = 0.50 and p = 0.86, respectively) but 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT better performance allowed changes in patients’ management. 68Ga-positive/18F-FDG-negative patients were the ones with the lowest calcitonin doubling time and presented a CEA doubling time >24 months, while the patient with more 18F-FDG-positive lesions was the one with the highest CEA/calcitonin ratio. The number of lesions found in 68Ga-DOTANOC PET/CT were correlated with calcitonin levels (r = 0.73; p < 0.01) but not with CEA ones (r = 0.42; p = 0.15). The number of 18F-FDG hypermetabolic focus were correlated with CEA levels (r = 0.60; p < 0.05) but not with calcitonin (r = 0.48; p = 0.09).
This is the first study to describe a positive correlation between 68Ga-positive lesions and calcitonin levels and between 18F-FDG-positivity and CEA levels. Tumoral markers pattern in metastatic MTC could help clinicians to decide which exam to perform first.
KeywordsThyroid cancer, medullary PET-CT Scan Calcitonin Carcinoembryonic antigen
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All patients gave their consent to be enroled in this study.
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