Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy with 90Y/177Lu-labelled peptides for inoperable head and neck paragangliomas (glomus tumours)

  • Ameya D. Puranik
  • Harshad R. Kulkarni
  • Aviral Singh
  • Richard P. BaumEmail author
Short Communication



Head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) are rare tumours arising from autonomic nervous system ganglia. Although surgery offers the best chance of complete cure, there is associated morbidity due to the crucial location of these tumours. Radiotherapy arrests tumour growth and provides symptomatic improvement, but has long-term consequences. These tumours express somatostatin receptors (SSTR) and hence peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is now a treatment option. We assessed the molecular, morphological and clinical responses of inoperable HNPGLs to PRRT.


Nine patients with inoperable HNPGL assessed between June 2006 and June 2014 were included. Four patients had a solitary lesion, four had multifocal involvement and one had distant metastases (bone and lungs). The patients were treated with PRRT using 90Y/177Lu-labelled peptides after positive confirmation of SSTR expression on 68Ga-DOTATOC PET/CT. All patients received two to four courses of PRRT. Subsequent serial imaging with 68Ga-DOTATOC PET/CT was carried out every 6 months to assess response to treatment. Clinical (symptomatic) response was also assessed.


Based on molecular response (EORTC) criteria, four of the nine patients showed a partial molecular response to treatment seen as significant decreases in SUVmax, accompanied by a reduction in tumour size. Five patients showed stable disease on both molecular and morphological criteria. Six out of nine patients were symptomatic at presentation with manifestations of cranial nerve involvement, bone destruction at the primary site and metastatic bone pain. Molecular responses were correlated with symptomatic improvement in four out of these six patients; while two patients showed small reductions in tumour size and SUVmax. The three asymptomatic patients showed no new lesions or symptomatic worsening.


PRRT was effective in all patients, with no disease worsening seen, either in the form of neurological symptoms or distant spread. Though these are preliminary results, PRRT shows promise as a good treatment option for HNPGL, and hence study in a larger patient cohort is essential to establish its place in the management algorithm.


Paraganglioma Head neck 68Ga PRRT 177Lu 90PET/CT 


Compliance with ethical standards



Conflicts of interest


Research involving human participants/animals

Statement of Human Rights: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement on the welfare of animals: This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ameya D. Puranik
    • 1
  • Harshad R. Kulkarni
    • 1
  • Aviral Singh
    • 1
  • Richard P. Baum
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.THERANOSTICS Centre for Molecular Radiotherapy and Molecular Imaging, ENETS Center of ExcellenceZentralklinik Bad BerkaBad BerkaGermany

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