A possible role for somatostatin receptor scintigraphy in the diagnosis and follow-up of children with medulloblastoma

J Neurooncol. 1998 May;38(1):27-40. doi: 10.1023/a:1005961302340.


The surgical resection of medulloblastoma (MB), the most frequent malignant brain tumor in children, often remains subtotal. To estimate the response to further treatment the residual tumor is monitored by CT or MRI. The interpretation of both imaging techniques is complicated by disturbances resulting from surgery and radiation. Our study searched for alternative imaging techniques and asked the following questions. 1) Do MB express somatostatin receptors (SSTR), 2) is SSTR scintigraphy a sensitive imaging technique for the follow-up and the detection of vital tumor tissue in children with MB, and 3) do the results of SSTR scintigraphy correlate with the in vitro analysis of MB tissue by SSTR autoradiography. We analyzed the SSTR status in 20 children with MB, aged 1 to 15 years. Sixteen SSTR scintigraphies using Indium-111-DTPA-D-Phel-pentetreotide were performed in 14 children. MB tissue of 14 children was analyzed by SSTR autoradiography using Iodine-125-Tyr3-octreotide. In 8 cases SSTR were measured by both methods in vivo and in vitro. In comparison with conventional imaging, results of SSTR scintigraphy were true positive in 7 of 7 patients, true negative in 9 of 9 patients, including one patient with false positive findings in MRI, false negative in only one patient with small spinal metastases (diameter < 3 mm) and false positive in none of the analyzed patients. In all cases with residual tumor (n = 3) and suspected relapse (n = 4) the diagnosis could be confirmed (n = 4) or excluded (n = 3), consistent with the results of MRI and tumor histology. All MB tissues analyzed by SSTR autoradiography (n = 14) showed an extremely high density of SSTR ranging from 4047 to 15526 dpm/mg MB tissue. MB (n = 8) which were analyzed by SSTR scintigraphy and autoradiography demonstrated consistent results in evaluation by both methods. In cases where the integrity of the blood-brain barrier was tested by Tc-99m-DTPA scintigraphy (n = 10), the SSTR-to-brain scintigraphy index confirmed the tumor specificity of radionuclide uptake. We conclude that 1) MB tissue expresses a particularly high density of SSTR, 2) the high density of SSTR in autoradiography correlates with a sensitive imaging of these tumors by SSTR scintigraphy, 3) SSTR scintigraphy might be a valuable imaging method for detection of vital MB tissue in patients with residual tumor or relapse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Medulloblastoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Somatostatin