18 F-Fluorocholine PET/CT in Primary Hyperparathyroidism: Superior Diagnostic Performance to Conventional Scintigraphic Imaging for Localization of Hyperfunctioning Parathyroid Glands

J Nucl Med. 2020 Apr;61(4):577-583. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.119.229914. Epub 2019 Sep 27.


Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a common endocrine disorder, definitive treatment usually requiring surgical removal of the offending parathyroid glands. To perform focused surgical approaches, it is necessary to localize all hyperfunctioning glands. The aim of the study was to compare the efficiency of established conventional scintigraphic imaging modalities with emerging 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT imaging in preoperative localization of hyperfunctioning parathyroid glands in a larger series of PHPT patients. Methods: In total, 103 patients with PHPT were imaged preoperatively with 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT and conventional scintigraphic imaging methods, consisting of 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT, 99mTc-sestamibi/pertechnetate subtraction imaging, and 99mTc-sestamibi dual-phase imaging. The results of histologic analysis, as well as intact parathyroid hormone and serum calcium values obtained 1 d after surgery and on follow-up, served as the standard of truth for evaluation of imaging results. Results: Diagnostic performance of 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT surpassed conventional scintigraphic methods (separately or combined), with calculated sensitivity of 92% for PET/CT and 39%-56% for conventional imaging (65% for conventional methods combined) in the entire patient group. Subgroup analysis, differentiating single and multiple hyperfunctioning parathyroid glands, showed PET/CT to be most valuable in the group with multiple hyperfunctioning glands, with sensitivity of 88%, whereas conventional imaging was significantly inferior, with sensitivity of 22%-34% (44% combined). Conclusion: 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT is a diagnostic modality superior to conventional imaging methods in patients with PHPT, allowing for accurate preoperative localization.

Keywords: 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT; 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT; primary hyperparathyroidism; scintigraphy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / pathology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Parathyroid Glands / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parathyroid Glands / pathology
  • Parathyroid Glands / physiopathology*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*


  • fluorocholine
  • Choline