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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2004 June;48(2):76-81

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Position of nuclear medicine techniques in the diagnostic work-up of brain tumors

Del Sole A. 1, Moncayo R. 2, Tafuni G. 3, Lucignani G. 1, 4

1 Institute of Radiological Sciences, University of Milan, Italy 2 University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria 3 IRCCS Ospetabe Maggiore Hospital, Polyclinic of Milan, Italy 4 Unit of Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiation Oncology European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy


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Although any patient with a suspected brain tumor, either primary or metastatic, should be studied with anatomic imaging modalities such as angiography, computerized tomagraphy (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine techniques are available to further characterize some biological features of brain lesions and help in diagnosis and therapy planning. Bloob-brain-barrier disruption can be easily assessed with single-photon emission tomography (SPET), whereas focal metabolic changes can be better demonstrated by positron emission tomography (PET) as specific radiopharmaceuticals are available to detect changes in glucose utilization and aminoacid uptake with this technique. Expression of specific tumoral antigens is the basis of imaging with radioimmunoscintigraphy, a promising technique that can be applied to brain tumor therapy. The major clinical applications of nuclear medicine in the study of brain tumors — evaluation of the extension of a tumoral mass, differential diagnosis and evaluation of therapy and prognosis — are discussed.

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