18F-Fluorodopamine PET Studies of Neuroblastoma and Pheochromocytoma

Study Purpose

PET (positron emission tomography) scans combined with a radioactive tracer will be used to identify and analyze tumors. Currently, the most common tracer used to analyze neuroblastoma tumors is called 123I-mIBG. However, the picture it provides is not always clear enough to see the very small areas of the disease. 18F-DA (18F-fluorodopamine) has been shown to be safe and more effective than 123I-mIBG in analyzing the tumor pheochromocytoma, which is closely related to neuroblastoma. With this research study, the investigators plan to meet the following goals:

  • - Investigate to see if 18F-DA is safe to administer to pediatric patients with known or suspected neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma.
  • - Examine where in the body 18F-DA goes.
  • - Obtain information comparing 18F-DA to 123I-mIBG to see if 18F-DA could replace 123I-mIBG in the future.
About 20 people, with known or suspected neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma, will take part in this Pilot study at St. Jude.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 1 Year and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

Patients with known or suspected neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma are eligible. 18F-DA PET/CT scanning will not be the initial imaging study in a newly diagnosed patient. Patients with positive findings on prior imaging within the past 4 weeks are eligible. Prior therapy is allowed. Patients > 1 year of age, under the care of a SJCRH physician. Patients of both genders, and all ethnic groups, under the care of a SJCRH physician. Female participants of childbearing age must not be lactating due to theoretical potential harm to the infant from exposure to radiation. Informed consent signed by participant, parent, or guardian according to the guidelines of the institutional review board.

Exclusion Criteria:

Inability or unwillingness of patient, parent, or guardian to consent. Pregnancy or lactation. Future plans for pregnancy do not exclude patient participation. Patient should not become pregnant within one month of completion of 18F-DA PET scan. Use of medications known to interfere with 123I-mIBG uptake (principal considerations are phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine containing compounds which need to be discontinued for 48 hours, and labetalol which needs to be discontinued for 6 weeks). Patients less than 3 years of age who require a total length of anesthesia time greater than 3 hours (for the FLOPET scan in conjunction with another clinical procedure requiring sedation) will be excluded from the study.

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Early Phase 1
Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Barry Shulkin, MD
Principal Investigator Affiliation St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries United States

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Neuroblastoma, Pheochromocytoma
Study Website: View Trial Website
Additional Details

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial malignant tumor of childhood. Nuclear imaging with 123I-mIBG is the standard test to follow and manage these patients. Because of the inherent imaging characteristics of I-123, there is suboptimal resolution within the images, causing them to appear somewhat blurry, which reduces our ability to find small areas of disease. A chemical that uses positron emission tomography should allow much better resolution of the images, which could improve patient care by allowing us to find small areas of disease that, if untreated, could result in tumor relapse. We have developed 18F-fluorodopamine (18F-DA) for PET imaging in our patients with neuroblastoma. The primary objective is to explore the safety of 18F-DA in patients with known or suspected neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma. The secondary objectives are to evaluate the biodistribution of 18F-DA in patients with neuroblastoma and compare the biodistribution of 18F-DA with the biodistribution of 123I-mIBG. Patients receive an intravenous injection of a small (tracer) dose of 18F-DA. Approximately 1 hour later, patients undergo PET scanning of the entire body to evaluate the localization of the tracer.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Injection of 18F-DA

18F-DA will be injected into a vein in the arm or leg, or via central venous access line.


Drug: - 18F-DA

18F-DA is an investigational PET radiotracer

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee




St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Memphis, Tennessee, 38119

Site Contact

Barry L Shulkin, MD



Stay Informed & Connected