Carotid PET/MRI With DOTATATE in Patients Post Head and Neck Radiation Therapy

Official Title

PET/MR of the Carotid Arteries With 68Ga DOTATATE in Patients Following Head and Neck Radiation Therapy and at Risk of Cerebrovascular Events


The improvement of comprehensive multi-modality treatment and radiation therapy (RT) technology has resulted in an improved survival rate of head and neck malignancies within recent decades. As survival increases, late toxicity from cancer therapy becomes a larger burden. Radiation induced vascular injury following RT is a recognized complication of radiation therapy. Diagnosis of vascular changes predominately relies on non-invasive imaging techniques. Doppler ultrasound assessment has been proven as a good indicator of diffuse atherosclerotic disease and a significant predictor of future vascular events. New opportunities are provided by the recent introduction of the hybrid PET/MRI scanners for investigating the synergistic effect of these two modalities without the challenge of image co-registration. It has been shown that the PET system integrated with the MRI scanner performs the same as the PET portion of a PET/CT for various cancers and cardiovascular indications. MRI allows better delineation of the carotid artery and atherosclerotic plaque when compared with CT due to the superior soft tissue contrast. The PET/MRI system acquires the PET and MRI simultaneously allowing for perfect alignment between the 2 sets of images, when compared with the sequential acquisition in PET/CT where minor head movements can cause misalignment. There is evidence in the literature that 68-Ga DOTA-TATE PET-imaging can serve as a surrogate marker for evidence of invasion into the vessel wall and thereby possibly detects early, developing atherosclerotic plaque. Thus, combined PET and MR with 68-Ga DOTA-TATE should be a promising imaging tool to screen and characterize patients at risk for radiation induced carotid injury. In this study, DOTATATE-PET/MR will be performed in up to 60 patients with a history of radiation therapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma over 2 years.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Validity of PET/MRI with 68Ga DOTATATE of carotid arteries

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