Comparison of 6-18F-fluorodopamine PET With 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine and 111in-pentetreotide Scintigraphy in Localization of Nonmetastatic and Metastatic Pheochromocytoma

J Nucl Med. 2008 Oct;49(10):1613-9. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.108.052373. Epub 2008 Sep 15.


We compared functional imaging modalities including PET with 6-(18)F-fluorodopamine ((18)F-DA) with (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ((123)I-MIBG) and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) with (111)In-pentetreotide in nonmetastatic and metastatic pheochromocytoma (PHEO).

Methods: We studied 25 men and 28 women (mean age +/- SD, 44.2 +/- 14.2 y) with biochemically proven nonmetastatic (n = 17) or metastatic (n = 36) PHEO. Evaluation included anatomic imaging with CT or MRI and functional imaging that included at least 2 nuclear medicine modalities: (18)F-DA PET, (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy, or SRS. Sensitivity of functional imaging versus anatomic imaging was assessed on a per-patient and a per-region basis.

Results: For this available cohort, on a per-patient basis overall sensitivity (combined for nonmetastatic and metastatic PHEO) was 90.2% for (18)F-DA PET, 76.0% for (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy, and 22.0% for SRS. On a per-region basis, overall sensitivity was 75.4% for (18)F-DA PET, 63.4% for (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy, and 64.0% for SRS.

Conclusion: If available, (18)F-DA PET should be used in the evaluation of PHEO, because it is more sensitive than (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy or SRS. If (18)F-DA PET is not available, (123)I-MIBG scintigraphy (for nonmetastatic or adrenal PHEO) and SRS (for metastatic PHEO) should be the first alternative imaging methods to be used.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Dopamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Humans
  • Indium Radioisotopes / pharmacology*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine
  • 6-fluorodopamine
  • Dopamine