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Current and Future Trends in the Anatomical and Functional Imaging of Head and Neck Paragangliomas

Authors
Journal
Seminars in Nuclear Medicine
0001-2998
Publisher
Elsevier - WB Saunders
Volume
43
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2013.06.005
Disciplines
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

Head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) account for approximately 3% of all paragangliomas (PGLs). Most often, HNPGLs are benign, nonsecreting, and slowly progressing. The initial physical examination and biochemical diagnosis usually adds very little to the proper diagnosis of these tumors, and, therefore, radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians play a pivotal role in providing the initial diagnosis, the locoregional staging, and the plan for detecting potential multicentric or metastatic lesions. Based on several current studies, the most accurate use of HNPGL-specific initial and subsequent imaging modalities must be guided by the knowledge of genetics and the specifically measured biochemical profile of these tumors for the proper management of these patients. Thus, this short review article presents the application of the most up-to-date anatomical and functional imaging approaches to HNPGLs tightly linked to the clinical management of these patients. Based on the most recent studies, 18F-FDOPA PET/CT has been shown to be a useful addition to anatomical imaging in the preoperative localization and molecular assessment of HNPGLs. It is estimated that the frequency of metabolically active PGLs on 18F-FDOPA PET/CT in this region is higher than 90%. For patients with hereditary PGL syndromes, 18F-FDG-PET/CT should be reserved. Imaging of somatostatin receptors using Octreoscan or 68Ga-labeled somatostatin analogues plays an important role for selecting patients for targeted radiation therapy. This review also concludes that it is expected that in the near future, these patients will indeed benefit from new diagnostic approaches based on the identification of new targets by molecular profiling studies that will result in the development of novel PGL-specific radiopharamceuticals.

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