Context: Cross-sectional imaging with CT or MRI is regarded as a first-choice modality for tumor localization in patients with pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL). 123I-labeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) is widely used for functional imaging but the added diagnostic value is controversial. Objective: To establish the virtual impact of adding 123I-MIBG scintigraphy to CT or MRI on diagnosis and treatment of PPGL. Design: International multicenter retrospective study. Intervention: None. Patients: Two hundred thirty-six unilateral adrenal, 18 bilateral adrenal, 48 unifocal extra-adrenal, 12 multifocal, and 26 metastatic PPGL. Main Outcome Measures: Patients underwent both anatomical imaging (CT and/or MRI) and 123I-MIBG scintigraphy. Local imaging reports were analyzed centrally by two independent observers who were blinded to the diagnosis. Imaging-based diagnoses determined by CT/MRI only, 123I-MIBG only, and CT/MRI combined with 123I-MIBG scintigraphy were compared with the correct diagnoses. Results: The rates of correct imaging-based diagnoses determined by CT/MRI only versus CT/MRI plus 123I-MIBG scintigraphy were similar: 89.4 versus 88.8%, respectively (P = 0.50). Adding 123I-MIBG scintigraphy to CT/MRI resulted in a correct change in the imaging-based diagnosis and ensuing virtual treatment in four cases (1.2%: two metastatic instead of nonmetastatic, one multifocal instead of single, one unilateral instead of bilateral adrenal) at the cost of an incorrect change in seven cases (2.1%: four metastatic instead of nonmetastatic, two multifocal instead of unifocal and one bilateral instead of unilateral adrenal). Conclusions: For the initial localization of PPGL, the addition of 123I-MIBG scintigraphy to CT/MRI rarely improves the diagnostic accuracy at the cost of incorrect interpretation in others, even when 123I-MIBG scintigraphy is restricted to patients who are at risk for metastatic disease. In this setting, the impact of 123I-MIBG scintigraphy on clinical decision-making appears very limited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical