Background: Small benign insulinomas are hard to localise, leading to difficulties in planning of surgical interventions. We aimed to prospectively assess the insulinoma detection rate of single-photon emission CT in combination with CT (SPECT/CT) with a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor avid radiotracer, and compare detection rates with conventional CT/MRI techniques.
Methods: In our prospective imaging study, we enrolled adults aged 25-81 years at centres in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK. Eligible patients had proven clinical and biochemical endogenous hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia and no evidence for metastatic disease on conventional imaging. CT/MRI imaging was done at referring centres according to standard protocols. At three tertiary nuclear medicine centres, we used whole body planar images and SPECT/CT of the abdomen up to 168 h after injection of (111)In-[Lys40(Ahx-DTPA-(111)In)NH2]-exendin-4 ((111)In-DTPA-exendin-4) to identify insulinomas. Consenting patients underwent surgery and imaging findings were confirmed histologically.
Findings: Between Oct 1, 2008, and Dec 31, 2011, we recruited 30 patients. All patients underwent (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 imaging, 25 patients underwent surgery (with histological analysis), and 27 patients were assessed with CT/MRI. (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 SPECT/CT correctly detected 19 insulinomas and four additional positive lesions (two islet-cell hyperplasia and two uncharacterised lesions) resulting in a positive predictive value of 83% (95% CI 62-94). One true negative (islet-cell hyperplasia) and one false negative (malignant insulinoma) result was identified in separate patients by (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 SPECT/CT. Seven patients (23%) were referred to surgery on the basis of (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 imaging alone. For 23 assessable patients, (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 SPECT/CT had a higher sensitivity (95% [95% CI 74-100]) than did CT/MRI (47% [27-68]; p=0.011).
Interpretation: (111)In-DTPA-exendin-4 SPECT/CT could provide a good second-line imaging strategy for patients with negative results on initial imaging with CT/MRI.
Funding: Oncosuisse, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and UK Department of Health.
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