Diagnostic Rechallenge with 18 F-FCH PET/CT Often Allows Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy While Maintaining Exceptional Cure Rates

World J Surg. 2022 Jun 28. doi: 10.1007/s00268-022-06629-3. Online ahead of print.


Background: Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) has gained acceptance as the preferred surgical procedure for management of primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT). Appropriate selection of patients for a MIP is a crucial step in its utilization. The aim of the study was to evaluate the role of 18F-FCH PET/CT as second-line imaging for accurately directing MIP.

Methods: This is a retrospective single-center study. Seventy-two patients with biochemical evidence of pHPT and a non-conclusive or negative first-line imaging (ultrasound and dual isotope subtraction scintigraphy) received 18F-FCH PET/CT between January 2018 and February 2020. All imaging studies were performed at our institution. Assessment of therapeutic changes and outcomes was performed.

Results: of the 72 patients imaged with 18F-FCH PET/CT, 54 subsequently underwent parathyroidectomy. When considering the ability of 18F-FCH PET/CT alone to predict a uniglandular disease, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV were 92.7% (95%CI: 80.1-98.5), 46.2% (19.2-74.9), PPV 87.3% (80.5-92) and NPV 61.2% (31.4-84.5), respectively. When we combined the data provided by 18F-FCH PET/CT with the data already collected from 1st line imaging we were able to complete a minimally invasive surgery in 38 of the 41 (92%) patients with a uniglandular disease. Thirteen patients (24%) had a multiglandular disease, all of them except one underwent bilateral neck exploration based on the data collected by all imaging modalities combined. Overall, cure was achieved in 53 (98%) patients.

Conclusion: 18F-FCH PET/CT, interpreted along with first-line imaging results in selected patients, can better facilitate utilization of MIS while maintaining exceptional cure rates.