Ga-68 DOTA-NOC uptake in the pancreas: pathological and physiological patterns. Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Gallium-68 (Ga-68) DOTA-1-NaI3-octreotide (DOTA-NOC) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) is increasingly used for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), often found primarily in the pancreas. However, physiologic uptake of DOTA-NOC has been described in the uncinate process of the pancreas. We studied DOTA-NOC uptake in this organ. Materials and Methods: Ninety-six patients underwent 103 DOTA-NOC scans, with pathology-proven pancreatic NET (n = 40) and nonpancreatic NET or biochemical suspicion of NET (n = 63). Results: DOTA-NOC uptake was detected in 35 documented pancreatic tumor sites (SUV: 5.5–165; mean: 25.7 ± 28.8; median: 17.8). Among 63 cases without previous known pathology, uptake was suspicious for tumor in 24 sites (SUV: 4.7–35; mean 16.3 ± 8.0; median: 14.1), and in 38 sites, it was judged as physiological, generally lower relative to adjacent structures (SUV: 2.2–12.6; mean: 6.6 ± 2.2; median: 6.2). In 24 scans with suspected tumor and in 37 of 38 scans with physiological uptake, diagnostic computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging or endoscopic ultrasonography failed to detect tumor. Conclusions: Pancreatic DOTA-NOC uptake must be interpreted with caution, and further studies are required.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012