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Neuroectodermal tumours arise from chromaffin cells and possess the ability to secrete catecholamines. They are generally rare and may occur in association with a variety of hereditary syndromes such as MEN-2A and 2B, neurofibromatosis type 1 and von Hippel-Lindau disease. The most common types are phaeochromocytoma arising from the adrenal medulla and paraganglioma of extra-adrenal origin. Phaeochromocytomas tend to be benign and are often associated with a gene mutation if the disease is bilateral, while paragangliomas are often malignant, have a more aggressive nature and tend to metastasize. There are no specific histological or immunohistochemical features that indicate the malignant potential and the diagnosis of malignancy can only be established by the presence of distant metastases. Therefore, imaging can play a vital role in the diagnosis, localization, staging and assessment of spread. Traditionally, this is achieved with a combination of cross-sectional (CT and MRI) and functional ((123)I-MIBG or (111)In-octreotide) imaging. However, these modalities are not adequate and achieve moderate sensitivity. The introduction of (68)Ga-DOTA peptide in PET/CT imaging has led to improved receptor targeting and superb PET resolution, as well as accurate localization of lesions. The use of this technique in neuroectodermal tumours has been shown to be superior to all available modalities, but the available data are limited and larger studies are awaited to establish its role in the management of these tumours.


Meeran Naji, Adil AL-Nahhas. ⁶⁸Ga-labelled peptides in the management of neuroectodermal tumours. European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. 2012 Feb;39 Suppl 1:S61-7

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PMID: 22388623

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