Correlation of somatostatin receptor PET/CT imaging features and immunohistochemistry in neuroendocrine tumors of the lung: a retrospective observational study

Vittoria Rufini, Maria Luisa Lorusso, Frediano Inzani, Tina Pasciuto, Elizabeth Katherine Anna Triumbari, Lucia Rosalba Grillo, Filippo Locco, Stefano Margaritora, Edoardo Pescarmona, Guido Rindi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: To correlate somatostatin receptor (SSTR) and proliferative activity profile (SSTR2, SSTR5, Ki-67) at immunohistochemistry (IHC) with SSTR-PET/CT imaging features in a retrospective series of lung neuroendocrine tumors (NET). Proliferative activity by Ki-67 and 18F-FDG-PET/CT parameters (when available) were also correlated. Methods: Among 551 patients who underwent SSTR-PET/CT with 68Ga-DOTA-somatostatin analogs (SSA) between July 2011 and March 2020 for lung neuroendocrine neoplasms, 32 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of NET were included. For 14 of them, 18F-FDG-PET/CT was available. PET/CT images were reviewed by qualitative and semi-quantitative analyses. Immunohistochemistry for SSTR2, SSTR5, and Ki-67 was assessed. Inferential analysis was performed including kappa statistics and Spearman’s rank correlation test. Results: Definitive diagnosis consisted of 26 typical carcinoids-G1 and six atypical carcinoids-G2. Positive SSTR2-IHC was found in 62.5% of samples while SSTR5-IHC positivity was 19.4%. A correlation between SSTR2-IHC and SSTR-PET/CT was found in 24/32 cases (75.0%, p = 0.003): 20 were concordantly positive, 4 concordantly negative. For positive IHC, 100% concordance with SSTR-PET/CT (both positive) was observed, while for negative IHC concordance (both negative) was 33.3%. In 8 cases, IHC was negative while SSTR-PET/CT was positive, even though with low-grade uptake in all but one. A significant correlation between SUVmax values at SSTR-PET/CT and the SSTR2-IHC scores was found, with low SUVmax values corresponding to negative IHC and higher SUVmax values to positive IHC (p = 0.002). Conclusion: This retrospective study showed an overall good agreement between SSTR2-IHC and tumor uptake at SSTR-PET/CT in lung NETs. SSTR-PET/CT SUVmax values can be used as a parameter of SSTR2 density. Within the limits imposed by the relatively small cohort, our data suggest that SSTR2-IHC may surrogate SSTR-PET/CT in selected lung NET patients for clinical decision making when SSTR-PET/CT is not available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4182-4193
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • 68
  • Ga]-DOTA-somatostatin analogs
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67
  • Lung NET
  • PET/CT
  • Somatostatin receptor subtypes
  • [


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