DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3911-1Pages: 658-666

F18-choline PET/CT guided surgery in primary hyperparathyroidism when ultrasound and MIBI SPECT/CT are negative or inconclusive: the APACH1 study

1. François Baclesse Cancer Centre, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Thyroid Unit

2. François Baclesse Cancer Centre, Department of Head & Neck Surgery

3. University Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine

4. University Hospital, Department of General and Endocrine Surgery

5. Caen University, INSERM 1086 ANTICIPE

6. François Baclesse Cancer Centre, Department of Clinical Research

7. University Hospital, Department of Endocrinology

Correspondence to:
Elske Quak
Tel: +33 231 45 50 32




To evaluate the sensitivity of F18-choline (FCH) PET/CT for parathyroid adenoma detection prior to surgery in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and negative or inconclusive cervical ultrasound and Tc99m-sestaMIBI SPECT/CT.


We conducted a prospective bicentric study (NCT02432599). All patients underwent FCH PET/CT. The result was scored positive, inconclusive or negative. The number of uptakes and their sites were recorded. The FCH PET/CT result guided the surgical procedure (minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, bilateral cervical exploration, or other in case of multiple or ectopic foci). FCH PET/CT results were compared to the surgical and pathological findings and the follow-up.


Twenty-five patients were included. Mean calcium and PTH levels prior to surgery were 2.76 ± 0.17 mmol/l and 94.8 ± 37.4 ng/l. Nineteen (76%) FCH PET/CTs were scored positive, 3 (12%) inconclusive and 3 (12%) negative, showing 21 cases of uniglandular disease, including 1 ectopic localization and 1 case of multiglandular (3 foci) disease. Mean lesion size was 13.1 ± 8.6 mm. Twenty-four patients underwent surgery. FCH PET/CT guided surgery in 22 (88%) patients, allowing for 17 minimally invasive parathyroidectomies, 1 bilateral cervical exploration for multifocality and 4 other surgical procedures. Two patients with negative FCH-PET/CT underwent bilateral cervical exploration. When dichotomizing the FCH PET/CT results, thereby classifying the inconclusive FCH PET/CT results as positive, the per lesion and per patient sensitivities were 91.3% (95%CI: 72.0–98.9) and 90.5% (95%CI: 69.6–98.8) and the corresponding positive predictive values were 87.5% (95%CI: 67.6–97.3) and 86.4% (95%CI: 65.1–97.1), respectively.

Twenty-one (88%) patients were considered cured after surgery. Their mean calcium level after surgery was 2.36 ± 0.17 mmol/l.


Preoperative FCH PET/CT has a high sensitivity and positive predictive value for parathyroid adenoma detection in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and negative or inconclusive conventional imaging results. Bilateral cervical exploration could be avoided in the majority (75%) of patients.

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  • Accepted: Dec 7, 2017
  • Online: Dec 22, 2017

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