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29.02.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 9/2016

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 9/2016

Role of 68Ga somatostatin receptor PET/CT in the detection of endogenous hyperinsulinaemic focus: an explorative study

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging > Ausgabe 9/2016
Vikas Prasad, Aurora Sainz-Esteban, Ruza Arsenic, Ursula Plöckinger, Timm Denecke, Ulrich-Frank Pape, Andreas Pascher, Peter Kühnen, Marianne Pavel, Oliver Blankenstein



To explore the role of 68Ga-DOTATATE/DOTATOC PET/CT (SR PET/CT) in patients with suspicion of or histopathologically proven pancreatogenic hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia.


We included 13 patients with histopathologically proven or a high clinical suspicion of pancreatogenic hyperinsulinaemia. All the patients underwent a SR PET/CT scan. The results were correlated with histopathological findings. Normalization of blood glucose levels after resection of the pancreatic lesion, as well as a cytological and/or pathological diagnosis of insulinoma, was considered the diagnostic gold standard for insulinoma. The diagnosis of nesidioblastosis was based on exclusion of an insulinoma and conclusive pathological examination of a segment of the pancreas. Malignant insulinoma was defined as the presence of locoregional or distant metastases.


Based on histopathology, 13 patients were found to have pancreatic hyperinsulinaemia: two patients had malignant insulinoma, eight had nonmetastasized insulinoma, and three had nesidioblastosis. SR PET was positive in 11 of the 13 patients (84.6 %) with a final diagnosis of endogenous pancreatic hypoglycaemia. Histopathological staining confirmed 16 foci of hyperinsulinism (insulin positivity). SR PET detected 14 of the 16 lesions, resulting in a sensitivity of 87 %. One intrapancreatic spleen was falsely diagnosed as insulinoma focus on SR PET, resulting in positive predictive value of 93.3 %. Immunohistochemical staining of somatostatin receptor (SSR) subtype 2a was available in ten specimens: two nesidioblastosis, and seven benign and one malignant insulinoma. Eight out of the ten specimens (80 %) stained strongly to moderately positive. Seven of the eight SSR2a-positive lesions were picked up on SR PET. Based on the results of SR PET/CT, nine patients achieved complete remission of the hypoglycaemic events during follow-up.


This explorative study suggests that SR PET in combination with CT may play a significant role in the detection and management of patients with pancreatogenic hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. A large proportion of insulinomas express SSR2a, and a larger study is needed to fully assess the diagnostic accuracy of SR PET in patients with insulinoma and nesidioblastosis compared with current localizing studies used in clinical practice.

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