Theranostics 2017; 7(5):1159-1163. doi:10.7150/thno.19588

Editorial

The NETPET Score: Combining FDG and Somatostatin Receptor Imaging for Optimal Management of Patients with Metastatic Well-Differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumors

Elif Hindié

Service de Médecine Nucléaire, CHU de Bordeaux, LabEx TRAIL, Université de Bordeaux, France

Abstract

Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) are often metastatic at the time of diagnosis. Metastatic well-differentiated (G1/G2) NET may display a wide range of behaviors, ranging from indolent to aggressive, even within apparently homogeneous categories. Thus, selecting the optimal treatment strategy is a challenging task. Somatostatin receptor imaging (SRI) is the standard molecular imaging technique for well-differentiated NET. When performed with 68Ga-labeled somatostatin analogs (SRI-PET), it offers exquisite sensitivity for disease staging. SRI is also a prerequisite for using targeted radionuclide therapy (e.g. 177Lu-DOTATATE). 18F-FDG imaging has traditionally been reserved for staging poorly-differentiated G3 neuroendocrine carcinomas. However, recent data showed that FDG imaging has prognostic value in patients with well-differentiated NET: high uptake was associated with an increased risk of early progression while low uptake suggested an indolent tumor.

In this issue of the Journal, Chan and colleagues propose a grading system where the results from the combined reading of SRI-PET and FDG-PET are reported as a single parameter, the “NETPET” score. While the scoring system still needs validation, it is clear that time has come to think about FDG and SRI in metastatic NET not as competitors but as complementary imaging modalities. Dual-tracer imaging can be viewed as a way to characterize disease phenotype in the whole-body. Moving from the prognostic value of dual-tracer imaging to a tool that allows for individualized management would require prospective trials. This editorial will argue that dual-tracer FDG-PET and SRI-PET might influence management of patients with well-differentiated metastatic NET and help selecting between different therapy options.

Keywords: Neuroendocrine tumors, NET, GEP-NET, PET/CT, Prognosis, 18F-FDG, Somatostatin analogs, Gallium-68, 68Ga-DOTATATE, 68Ga-DOTATOC, 68Ga-DOTANOC, Somatostatin receptor, Radionuclide therapy, 177Lu-DOTATATE.

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How to cite this article:
Hindié E. The NETPET Score: Combining FDG and Somatostatin Receptor Imaging for Optimal Management of Patients with Metastatic Well-Differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumors. Theranostics 2017; 7(5):1159-1163. doi:10.7150/thno.19588. Available from http://www.thno.org/v07p1159.htm