Utility of positron emission tomography for tumour surveillance in children with neurofibromatosis type 1
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There is little consensus regarding optimal surveillance of optic pathway glioma (OPG) and plexiform neurofibroma (PNF) in childhood neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). 18F-2-Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) is employed in the surveillance of adult PNFs; but its utility has neither been specifically studied in children with PNFs nor in children with OPG.
Review of PET/CT studies was performed in NF1 children with OPG or PNF. FDG-avidity of tumours was semi-quantitatively analysed and graded by calculating the maximum standardised uptake value (SUVmax) [grade 1: <3 (low), grade 2: >3–<4 (intermediate), grade 3: >4 (intense)].
Eighteen children (ten girls; median age: 8.5–years) had PET/CT. Nineteen OPGs were imaged. The SUVmax could be measured in 16. Ten were grade 1 and three each were grade 2 and grade 3. FDG-avidity reduced from grade 3 to grade 1 in two symptomatic OPGs following chemotherapy and this was associated with clinical improvement. PET/CT diagnosed symptomatic OPGs with a sensitivity of 0.625 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.259–0.897] and specificity of 0.875 (95% CI: 0.466–0.993). Sixteen PNFs were imaged. Twelve were grade 1 and two each were grade 2 and grade 3. The two grade 3 PNFs were confirmed malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours. PET/CT diagnosed malignant transformation with a sensitivity of 1.0 (95% CI: 0.197–1.0) and specificity of 0.857 (95% CI: 0.561–0.974).
PET/CT may contribute useful information to the surveillance of OPG in childhood NF1—particularly to identify progressive, symptomatic tumours. As in adults, PET/CT is useful for the detection of malignant transformation in PNFs in children with NF1.
KeywordsNeurofibromatosis type 1 PET/CT Plexiform neuroma Optic glioma Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour
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