A Pilot Comparison of 18F-fluorocholine PET/CT, Ultrasonography and 123I/99mTc-sestaMIBI Dual-Phase Dual-Isotope Scintigraphy in the Preoperative Localization of Hyperfunctioning Parathyroid Glands in Primary or Secondary Hyperparathyroidism: Influence of Thyroid Anomalies

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We compared 18F-fluorocholine hybrid positron emission tomography/X-ray computed tomography (FCH-PET/CT) with ultrasonography (US) and scintigraphy in patients with hyperparathyroidism and discordant, or equivocal results of US and 123I/99mTc-sesta-methoxyisobutylisonitrile (sestaMIBI) dual-phase parathyroid scintigraphy. FCH-PET/CT was performed in 17 patients with primary (n = 11) lithium induced (n = 1) or secondary hyperparathyroidism (1 dialyzed, 4 renal-transplanted).The reference standard was based on results of surgical exploration and histopathological examination. The results of imaging modalities were evaluated, on site and by masked reading, on per-patient and per-lesion bases.In a first approach, equivocal images/foci were considered as negative. On a per-patient level, the sensitivity was for US 38%, for scintigraphy 69% by open and 94% by masked reading, and for FCH-PET/CT 88% by open and 94% by masked reading. On a per-lesion level, sensitivity was for US 42%, for scintigraphy 58% by open and 83% by masked reading, and for FCH-PET/CT 88% by open and 96% by masked reading. One ectopic adenoma was missed by the 3 imaging modalities. Considering equivocal images/foci as positive increased the accuracy of the open reading of scintigraphy or of FCH-PET/CT, but not of US. FCH-PET/CT was significantly superior to US in all approaches, whereas it was more sensitive than scintigraphy only for open reading considering equivocal images/foci as negative (P = 0.04). FCH uptake was more intense in adenomas than in hyperplastic parathyroid glands. Thyroid lesions were suspected in 9 patients. They may induce false-positive results as in one case of oncocytic thyroid adenoma, or false-negative results as in one case of intrathyroidal parathyroid adenoma. Thyroid cancer (4 cases) can be visualized with FCH as with 99mTc-sestaMIBI, but the intensity of uptake was moderate, similar to that of parathyroid hyperplasia.This pilot study confirmed that FCH-PET/CT is an adequate imaging tool in patients with primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism, since both adenomas and hyperplastic parathyroid glands can be detected. The sensitivity of FCH-PET/CT was better than that of US and was not inferior to that of dual-phase dual-isotope 123I/99mTc-scintigraphy. Further studies should evaluate whether FCH could replace 99mTc-sestaMIBI as the functional agent for parathyroid imaging, but US would still be useful to identify thyroid lesions.

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