Objective: To compare the sensitivity of somatostatin receptor scintigraphy done using [111In-DTPA-DPhe1]octreotide with that of other imaging methods in the localization of gastrinomas in patients with the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Referral-based clinical research center.
Patients: 80 consecutive patients with the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Interventions: Conventional tumor localization studies (ultrasonography, computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], selective angiography, and bone scanning) and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy done using [111In-DTPA-DPhe1]octreotide with single-photon emission CT imaging at 4 and 24 hours. Patients with possible liver metastases had biopsies done for confirmation, and 15 patients had exploratory laparotomies done to assess primary tumor localization.
Results: Extrahepatic gastrinomas or liver metastases were identified by ultrasonography in 19% of patients, by CT in 38% of patients, by MRI in 45% of patients, by angiography in 40% of patients, and by somatostatin receptor scintigraphy in 70% of patients. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy was as sensitive as the other tests combined (59%), and when the results of all other tests were added to the somatostatin receptor scintigraphy results, tumors were localized in 75% of patients. Among patients with a possible primary tumor, the results of ultrasonography were positive in 9%, the results of CT were positive in 31%, the results of MRI were positive in 30%, the results of angiography were positive in 28%, and the results of somatostatin receptor scintigraphy were positive in 58%. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy was as sensitive as all of the other imaging studies combined; when the results of scintigraphy were added to the results of the other studies, possible primary tumors were identified in 68% of patients. In 24 patients who had histologically proven metastatic liver disease, sensitivities for the detection of any metastatic liver lesions were 46% for ultrasonography, 42% for CT, 71% for MRI, 62% for angiography, and 92% for somatostatin receptor scintigraphy. Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy was significantly better than all of the conventional imaging methods in the identification of gastrinomas later found at surgery (P = 0.004), but it still missed 20% of gastrinomas.
Conclusions: Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy is the single most sensitive method for imaging either primary or metastatic liver lesions in patients with the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Because of its sensitivity, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness, it should be the first imaging method used in these patients. For patients with negative results on somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, guidelines about the use of other imaging studies are proposed.