Volumetric assessment of recurrent or progressive gliomas: comparison between F-DOPA PET and perfusion-weighted MRI

Francesco Cicone, Christian P. Filss, Giuseppe Minniti, Camilla Rossi-Espagnet, Annalisa Papa, Claudia Scaringi, Norbert Galldiks, Alessandro Bozzao, N. Jon Shah, Francesco Scopinaro, Karl Josef Langen

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Purpose: To compare the diagnostic information obtained with 6-[18F]-fluoro-l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (F-DOPA) PET and relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) maps in recurrent or progressive glioma. Methods: All patients with recurrent or progressive glioma referred for F-DOPA imaging at our institution between May 2010 and May 2014 were retrospectively included, provided that macroscopic disease was visible on conventional MRI images and that rCBV maps were available for comparison. The final analysis included 50 paired studies (44 patients). After image registration, automatic tumour segmentation of both sets of images was performed using the average signal in a large reference VOI including grey and white matter multiplied by 1.6. Tumour volumes identified by both modalities were compared and their spatial congruence calculated. The distances between F-DOPA uptake and rCBV hot spots, tumour-to-brain ratios (TBRs) and normalized histograms were also computed. Results: On visual inspection, 49 of the 50 F-DOPA and 45 of the 50 rCBV studies were classified as positive. The tumour volume delineated using F-DOPA (F-DOPAvol 1.6) greatly exceeded that of rCBV maps (rCBVvol 1.6). The median F-DOPAvol 1.6 and rCBVvol 1.6 were 11.44 ml (range 0 – 220.95 ml) and 1.04 ml (range 0 – 26.30 ml), respectively (p < 0.00001). Overall, the median overlapping volume was 0.27 ml, resulting in a spatial congruence of 1.38 % (range 0 – 39.22 %). The mean hot spot distance was 27.17 mm (±16.92 mm). F-DOPA uptake TBR was significantly higher than rCBV TBR (1.76 ± 0.60 vs. 1.15 ± 0.52, respectively; p < 0.0001). The histogram analysis showed that F-DOPA provided better separation of tumour from background. In 6 of the 50 studies (12 %), however, physiological uptake in the striatum interfered with tumour delineation. Conclusion: The information provided by F-DOPA PET and rCBV maps are substantially different. Image interpretation is easier and a larger tumour extent is identified on F-DOPA PET images than on rCBV maps. The clinical impact of such differences needs to be explored in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-915
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acid brain PET
  • DOPA
  • Glioma
  • Perfusion-weighted magnetic resonance
  • rCBV maps
  • Tumour volume

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