Comparison of [18F]DOPA and [68Ga]DOTA-TOC as a PET imaging tracer before peptide receptor radionuclide therapy

Emile B. Veenstra*, Adrienne H. Brouwers, Derk Jan A. de Groot, Johannes Hofland, Annemiek M.E. Walenkamp, Tessa Brabander, Wouter T. Zandee, Walter Noordzij

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: In treatment of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs), confirmation of somatostatin receptor expression with 68Ga-DOTA somatostatin analogues is mandatory to determine eligibility for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). [18F]DOPA can detect additional lesions compared to [68Ga]DOTA-TOC. The aim of this study was to explore differences in tumour detection of both tracers and their relevance for selecting patients for PRRT. We retrospectively studied eight patients with NENs who underwent both [68Ga]DOTA-TOC and carbidopa-enhanced [18F]DOPA PET/CT, before first-time PRRT with [177Lu]DOTA-TATE. Tracer order was influenced due to stock availability or to detect suspected metastases with a second tracer. On CT, disease control was defined as a lesion showing complete response, partial response, or stable disease, according to RECIST 1.1. criteria. Results: Seven patients with in total 89 lesions completed four infusions of 7.4 GBq [177Lu]DOTA-TATE, one patient received only two cycles. Before treatment, [18F]DOPA PET/CT detected significantly more lesions than [68Ga]DOTA-TOC PET/CT (79 vs. 62, p <.001). After treatment, no difference in number of lesions with disease control was found for [18F]DOPA-only (5/27) and [68Ga]DOTA-TOC-only lesions (4/10, p =.25). [18F]DOPA detected more liver metastases (24/27) compared to [68Ga]DOTA-TOC (7/10, p =.006). Six patients showed inpatient heterogeneity in treatment response between [18F]DOPA-only and [68Ga]DOTA-TOC-only lesions. Conclusions: Response to PRRT with [177Lu]DOTA-TATE was comparable for both [68Ga]DOTA-TOC- and [18F]DOPA-only NEN lesions. [18F]DOPA may be capable of predicting response to PRRT while finding more lesions compared to [68Ga]DOTA-TOC, although these additional lesions are often small of size and undetected by diagnostic CT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalEuropean Journal of Hybrid Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022

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