Radioguided Surgery with Gallium 68 Dotatate for Patients with Neuroendocrine Tumors

Mustapha El Lakis, Andreas Gianakou, Pavel Nockel, Douglas Wiseman, Amit Tirosh, Martha A. Quezado, Dhaval Patel, Naris Nilubol, Karel Pacak, Samira M. Sadowski, Electron Kebebew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Importance: Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) express somatostatin receptors, which can be targeted with radiolabeled peptides. In a variety of solid tumors, radioguided surgery (RGS) has been used to guide surgical resection. Gallium 68 ( 68 Ga) dota peptides have been shown to be more accurate than other radioisotopes for detecting NETs. A pilot study previously demonstrated the feasibility and safety of 68 Ga-dotatate RGS for patients with NETs. Objective: To evaluate what intraoperative techniques and thresholds define positive lesions that warrant resection during 68 Ga-dotatate RGS. Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study, conducted between October 23, 2013, and February 14, 2018, included 44 patients with NETs who underwent 68 Ga-dotatate RGS. Intervention: Gallium 68-dotatate RGS. Main Outcomes and Measures: The in vivo and ex vivo tumor to background ratio (TBR) was assessed for resected lesions and correlated with the histopathologic findings. Results: Forty-four patients (22 women and 22 men; mean [SD] age, 51.0 [13.7] years) had 133 lesions detected on preoperative imaging scans, with a diagnosis of a pancreatic NET (19 of 44 [43%]), gastrointestinal NET (22 of 44 [50%]), and pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma (3 of 44 [7%]). The TBR was obtained by normalizing to the omentum (106 of 133 [79.7%]) or other solid organs (27 of 133 [20.3%]). The omentum had a significantly lower mean (SD) count than other solid organs for background count activity 3 hours after injection (22.1 [17.0] vs 34.5 [39.0]; P <.001). The lesions containing NETs had a higher TBR than those that did not contain NETs (18.9 vs 4.4; P <.001). On a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, a TBR of 2.5 had a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 25%, and a TBR of 16 had a sensitivity of 54% and a specificity of 81%. Conclusions and Relevance: A TBR of 2.5 or greater is a highly sensitive threshold for indicating a lesion to be consistent with a NET on histologic findings and thus warranting surgical resection. The omentum should be used as the background count activity for 68 Ga-dotatate RGS for patients with abdominal NETs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalJAMA Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


FundersFunder number
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer InstituteZIABC011286


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