Comparison of 11C-acetate positron emission tomography and 67Gallium citrate scintigraphy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma


Shuren Li, MD
Department of Nuclear Medicine
Medical University of Vienna
Waehringer Guertel 18-20
A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +431404004538


Abstract: Aims: Nuclear imaging may have an increasing role in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to compare prospectively the Gallium-67 citrate (67Ga) scintigraphy results with those obtained by positron emission tomography (PET) using 11C-acetate in patients with HCC.

Methods: We prospectively analysed 21 patients (mean age, 64±11 years) with histopathologically verified HCC undergoing 11C-acetate PET and 67Ga scintigraphy. 67Ga scans were not performed in three of these 21 patients due to the exacerbation of the disease. Whole-body 11C-acetate PET were performed following intravenous injection of 850 MBq of 11C-acetate. For 67Ga scintigraphy, whole-body, planar and single photon emission computed tomography imaging acquisitions were performed after intravenous application of a mean dose of 189 MBq 67Ga.

Results: 67Ga scintigraphy found abnormalities only in 10 of 18 patients (56%) and detected 22 of 46 clinically involved sites (48%); it was false-positive in two patients. 11C-acetate PET found abnormalities in 14 of 18 patients (78%) and detected 36 of 46 clinical lesions (78%); it was false-positive in one patients. In one patient with left supraclavicular lymph node metastases, neither the 67Ga scintigraphy nor the conventional computed tomography have shown the lesions, which were clearly demonstrated by the 11C-acetate PET.

Conclusion: Our results indicate significantly higher sensitivity and specificity of 11C-acetate PET than 67Ga scan in detection of HCC lesions. This study suggests that imaging with 11C-acetate PET might play a potential role in the diagnostic workup of patients with HCC.