What is the role of PET scanning for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma?

Updated: Jul 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael A Blake, MBBCh, MRCPI, FRCR; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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PET scanning with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), which is selectively concentrated as part of the abnormal metabolism of many neoplasms, has been demonstrated to detect occult pheochromocytomas. Pheochromocytomas usually show increased uptake on PET scanning, as do adrenal metastases. In SDHB-related metastatic paraganglioma, 18F-FDG-PET has a sensitivity approaching 100%. [54]

The most impressive results to date have been with 6-[18F]-fluorodopamine (FDOPA) PET scanning and carbon-11 hydroxyephedrine (11C-HED) PET scanning. Studies suggest that scans performed with these radioisotopes are extremely useful in the detection and localization of pheochromocytomas. Further study results with these agents are eagerly awaited.

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