Recent Advances in Radiopharmaceutical Theranostics of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma

Semin Nucl Med. 2023 Jul;53(4):503-516. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2022.12.005. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


As a rare kind of non-epithelial neuroendocrine neoplasms, paragangliomas (PGLs) exhibit various clinical characteristics with excessive catecholamine secretion and have been a research focus in recent years. Although several modalities are available nowadays, radiopharmaceuticals play an integral role in the management of PGLs. Theranostics utilises radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic intentions by aiming at a specific target in tumour and has been considered a possible means in diagnosis, staging, monitoring and treatment planning. Numerous radiopharmaceuticals have been developed over the past decades. 123/131-Metaiodobenzylguanidine (123/131I-MIBG), the theranostics pair target on norepinephrine transporter system, has remained a fantastic protocol for patients with PGLs because of disease control with limited toxicity. The high-specific-activity 131I-MIBG was authorised by the Food and Drug Administration as a systemic treatment method for metastatic PGLs in 2018. Afterward, peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, which uses radiolabelled somatostatin (SST) analogues, has been exploited as a superior substitute. 68Ga-somatostatin analogue (SSA) PET showed significant performance in diagnosing PGLs than MIBG scintigraphy, especially in patients with head and neck PGLs or SDHx mutation. 90Y/177Lu-DOTA-SSA is highly successful and has preserved favourable safety with mounting evidence regarding objective response, disease stabilisation, symptomatic and hormonal management and quality of life preservation. Besides the ordinary beta emitters, alpha-emitters such as 211At-MABG and 225Ac-DOTATATE have been investigated intensively in recent years. However, many studies are still in the pre-clinical stage, and more research is necessary. This review summarises the developments and recent advances in radiopharmaceutical theranostics of PGLs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / therapeutic use
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Paraganglioma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Paraganglioma* / genetics
  • Paraganglioma* / radiotherapy
  • Pheochromocytoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pheochromocytoma* / genetics
  • Pheochromocytoma* / radiotherapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Somatostatin


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine
  • Somatostatin