Introduction and aim
Ectopic ACTH secretion (EAS) is mostly secondary to thoracic/abdominal neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) or small cell-lung carcinoma (SCLC). We studied the diagnostic accuracy of CT with 68Ga-Dota derivatives (68Ga-SSTR) PET in localizing ACTH-secreting tumor in patients with EAS.
Materials and methods
68Ga-SSTR-PET/CT was performed and compared with the nearest enhanced CT in 18 cases (16 primary and 2 recurrent neoplasms). Unspecific, indeterminate and false-positive uptakes were assessed using conventional imaging, follow-up or histology.
We diagnosed 13 thoracic (9 primary and 2 recurrent bronchial carcinoids, 2 SCLCs) and 1 abdominal (pancreatic NET) tumors. Eight ACTH-secreting tumors were promptly identified at EAS diagnosis (’overt’, four pulmonary carcinoids with two recurrences and two SCLC); six EAS have been discovered during the subsequent follow-up (’covert’, five bronchial carcinoids and one pancreatic NET). At the time of EAS diagnosis, imaging was able to correctly detect the ACTH-secreting tumour in 8/18 cases (6 new diagnosis and 2 recurrences). During the follow-up, six out of initially ten ‘occult’ cases became ‘covert’. At last available follow-up, CT and 68Ga-SSTR-PET/CT were able to diagnose 11/18 and 12/18 ACTH-secreting tumours, respectively (11/14 and 12/14 considering only overt and covert cases, respectively). Four cases have never been localized by conventional or nuclear imaging (’occult EAS’), despite an average follow-up of 5 years.
The 68Ga-SSTR-PET/CT is useful in localizing EAS, especially to enhance positive prediction of the suggestive CT lesions and to detect occult neoplasms.