Purpose: MRI alone has its limitations for target selection in biopsy or resection in newly diagnosed and pretreated pediatric brain tumor patients. (18)F-FET-PET imaging is considered to identify metabolically active tumor tissue and to differentiate it from therapy-associated changes. We retrospectively analyzed our experience with (18)F-FET-PET in targeted surgical interventions for pediatric brain tumors.
Methods: In 26 cases with lesions suspicious of a growing brain tumor on MRI, either newly diagnosed or after antitumoral treatment led to (18)F-FET-PET imaging for target selection prior to stereotactic biopsy, navigated open biopsy or navigated microsurgical tumor resection. Indications for (18)F-FET-PET imaging were visualization of metabolic active tumor tissue within diffuse tumors or pretreated lesions as well as depicting their extent.
Results: (18)F-FET-PET integration in surgery was feasible in all patients using stereotaxy or neuronavigation. Sensitivity for tumor detection was 20/24. (18)F-FET-PET was false positive in two pretreated patients.
Conclusion: (18)F-FET-PET imaging is helpful for target selection and can be integrated in surgical guidance. (18)F-FET-PET image-guided surgical targeting yielded histological diagnosis with decent specificity and high sensitivity in our cohort of pediatric brain tumor patients. Our results warrant further evaluation of (18)F-FET-PET imaging for surgical guidance.