A comparison of the performance of ⁶⁸Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT and ¹²³I-MIBG SPECT in the diagnosis and follow-up of phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2012 Aug;39(8):1266-70. doi: 10.1007/s00259-012-2119-7. Epub 2012 Apr 20.


Purpose: To compare the sensitivity of (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) SPECT and (68)Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT in detecting phaeochromocytomas (PCC) and paragangliomas (PGL) in the initial diagnosis and follow-up of patients with PCC and PGL disease.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of 15 patients with PCC/PGL who had contemporaneous (123)I-MIBG and (68)Ga-DOTATATE imaging.

Results: Of the 15 patients in the series, 8 were concordant with both modalities picking up clinically significant lesions. There were no patients in whom both modalities failed to pick up clinically significant lesions. There was discordance in seven patients: 5 had positive (68)Ga-DOTATATE and negative (123)I-MIBG, and 2 (12 and 14) had negative (68)Ga-DOTATATE and positive (123)I-MIBG. Utilizing (123)I-MIBG as the gold standard, (68)Ga-DOTATATE had a sensitivity of 80 % and a positive predictive value of 62 %. The greatest discordance was in head and neck lesions, with the lesions in 4 patients being picked up by (68)Ga-DOTATATE and missed by (123)I-MIBG. On a per-lesion analysis, cross-sectional (CT and MRI) and (68)Ga-DOTATATE was superior to (123)I-MIBG in detecting lesions in all anatomical locations, and particularly bony lesions.

Conclusion: First, (68)Ga-DOTATATE should be considered as a first-line investigation in patients at high risk of PGL and metastatic disease, such as in the screening of carriers for mutations associated with familial PGL syndromes. Second, if (123)I-MIBG does not detect lesions in patients with a high pretest probability of PCC or PGL, (68)Ga-DOTATATE should be considered as the next investigation. Third, (68)Ga-DOTATATE hould be considered in preference to (123)I-MIBG in patients in whom metastatic spread, particularly to the bone, is suspected.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine*
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods*
  • Organometallic Compounds*
  • Paraganglioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Young Adult


  • Organometallic Compounds
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine
  • gallium Ga 68 dotatate