Date: 17 Apr 2008

Comparison between 68 Ga-DOTA-NOC and 18 F-DOPA PET for the detection of gastro-entero-pancreatic and lung neuro-endocrine tumours

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18F-FDG positron emission tomography (PET) value for the assessment of neuro-endocrine tumours (NET) is limited. Preliminary studies indicate that 18F-DOPA and 68Ga-DOTA-NOC are more accurate for disease assessment and 68Ga-DOTA peptides provide additional data on receptor status that are crucial for targeted radionuclide therapy. At present, there are no comparative studies investigating their role in NET.


The aim of this study was to compare 68Ga-DOTA-NOC and 18F-DOPA for the evaluation of gastro-entero-pancreatic and lung neuro-endocrine tumours.

Materials and methods

Thirteen patients with biopsy-proven NET (gastro-entero-pancreatic or pulmonary) were prospectively enrolled and scheduled for 18F-DOPA and 68Ga-DOTA-NOC PET. PET results obtained with both tracers were compared with each other, with other conventional diagnostic procedures (CT, ultrasound) and with follow-up (clinical, imaging).


The most common primary tumour site was the pancreas (8/13) followed by the ileum (2/13), the lung (2/13) and the duodenum (1/13). The carcinoma was well differentiated in 10/13 and poorly differentiated in 3/13 cases. 68Ga-DOTA-NOC PET was positive, showing at least one lesion, in 13/13 cases while 18F-DOPA PET was positive in 9/13. On a lesions basis, 68Ga-DOTA-NOC identified more lesions than 18F-DOPA (71 vs 45), especially at liver, lung and lymph node level. 68Ga-DOTA-NOC correctly identified the primary site in six of eight non-operated cases (in five cases, the primary was surgically removed before PET), while 18F-DOPA identified the primary only in two of eight cases.


Although the patients studied are few and heterogeneous, our data show that 68Ga-DOTA-NOC is accurate for the detection of gastro-entero-pancreatic and lung neuro-endocrine tumours in either the primary or metastatic site and that it offers several advantages over 18F-DOPA.