Fluorodopa F 18 in Congenital Hyperinsulinism and Insulinoma

  • End date
    Jun 23, 2028
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Cook Children's Health Care System
Updated on 23 January 2021


Low blood sugars are known to cause brain damage in newborn babies. One of the most common causes of low blood sugars persisting beyond the new born period is a condition called congenital hyperinsulinism (HI). This is a disease whereby the pancreas secretes too much insulin and causes low blood sugars. Twenty to forty percent of these babies will have brain damage. There are two forms of this disease. In one form only a small part of the pancreas makes too much insulin (focal HI) and in the other, the whole pancreas make too much insulin (diffuse HI). Another very similar disease is insulinoma which occurs after birth, but also causes hyperinsulinism. If a surgeon could know which part of the pancreas has the focal lesion he could remove it and cure the patient.

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a new investigational drug called Fluorodopa F 18, when used with a PET scan, can find the focal lesion and guide the surgeon to remove it, thus curing the patient and preventing further brain damage.


Congenital Hyperinsulinism (HI) is a disorder of insulin secretion that causes profound hypoglycemia leading to significant morbidity. It is the most common form of persistent neonatal hypoglycemia, and the most dangerous. Inappropriate insulin secretion causes not only hypoglycemia but also inability to release free fatty acids from adipose tissue and inability to release glycogen from the liver. Hence the brain is deprived of all the major fuel sources (glucose, beta-hydroxybutyrate and lactate) for energy thus leading to the high incidence of brain damage. In up to 50% of cases of congenital hyperinsulinism, medical therapy fails and surgical resection of the pancreas is necessary. Previous techniques developed to differentiate those patients with focal HI in whom surgery could result in a cure are very invasive and put the infants at risk for hypoglycemic brain damage or arterial thrombosis.

It is known that the beta cells in the pancreatic islets, similar to other neuroendocrine tissues, contain amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). Beta cells take up L-Dopa and convert it into dopamine by AADC. It was proposed that as other neuroendocrine tumors such as phaeochromocytoma and carcinoid tumors express AADC and can be very easily visualized using Fluorodopa F 18 PET then so also would the pancreas be easily and accurately visualized. After initial reports demonstrated the effectiveness, safety and accuracy, there have been now over 200 patients with HI reported in the literature who have had Fluorodopa F 18 PET scans with suggestions that referral to major HI centers for Fluorodopa F 18 PET CT is now an integral part of standard of care management of patients with HI that require surgery. Fluorodopa F 18 PET scanning for patients with Hyperinsulinism is now established in Europe and Australia, and has close to 95% sensitivity. When linked to Computed Tomography (CT) image of the pancreas, Fluorodopa F 18 PET allows the surgeon to image the pancreas in three dimensions, to even more accurately identify the site of the focal lesion, increasing the chance of a sufficient partial pancreatectomy to cure the patient.

Similarly, insulinomas are neuroendocrine cell tumors that are typically benign (90%) and very rare occurring in 1-4 per million of the population with > 50% occurring in adults >age 25 years. Biochemical differentiation of insulinomas from congenital hyperinsulinism may be aided by the use of the pro-insulin:insulin ratio, by the age of presentation and by the history. The standard of care for insulinoma is to remove them once identified, rather than long term medical treatment. Current imaging techniques include CT scan pancreas, endoscopic ultrasound of the pancreas and MRI pancreas however despite using these modalities in some patients the insulinoma may not be found. 18F-DOPA has been shown to be superior than MIBG scanning for neuroendocrine tumors such as phaeochromocytoma, but there is very little data in patients with insulinoma. Moreover, patients with MEN 1 and insulinoma may have more than one tumor, which if missed with conventional imaging could result in failure to cure with surgery.

The objectives of this study are:

  1. To determine, using Positron Emission Tomography, whether or not the uptake of a radiopharmaceutical agent, Fluorodopa 18F (18F-DOPA) produced in a cyclotron located at a distance far from the imaging center will produce qualitatively adequate pancreatic images in patients with congenital hyperinsulinism
  2. To determine, using direct comparisons, whether or not Fluorodopa 18F Positron Emission Tomography (18F-DOPA PET) combined with Computed Tomography (CT) will produce pancreatic images matching the gold-standard of histopathological findings at surgery for partial or complete pancreatectomy in the treatment of patients with congenital hyperinsulinism
  3. To determine, using direct comparisons, whether or not Fluorodopa 18F Positron Emission Tomography (18F-DOPA PET) combined with Computed Tomography (CT) will produce pancreatic images matching the gold-standard of histopathological findings at surgery for insulinomas
  4. To determine the best way to interpret the 18F-DOPA PET scans comparing SUV max:SUV sub max at a ratio of the current 1.5, a suggested 1.3 and by using visual inspection of the images.

Condition insulinoma, Pancreatic disorder, Pancreatic Disorders, Hyperinsulinism, familial, Pancreatic Disorders
Treatment Fluorodopa F 18
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02021604
SponsorCook Children's Health Care System
Last Modified on23 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients with HI attending the Cook Children's Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center and being treated by an Endocrinologist which may be the PI or a partner of this clinician
The patient's Endocrinologist has determined that the patient cannot be safely managed with standard medical therapy (failed) and surgery is recommended to prevent future episodes of severe hypoglycemia and preserve brain function. Failure of medical therapy is defined as both
Hypoglycemia (blood glucose <70 m/dL) on a single measure despite the use of anti-hypoglycemic medications, if applicable to the individual patient, including and limited to diazoxide or octreotide
Inability to fast, defined as the inability to maintain a blood glucose >50 mg/dL for: 1) more than 12 hours for infants < 1 year of age; 2) more than 15 hours 1-3 years of age; 3) more than 18 hours over 3 years of age
Patients in whom the genetic testing (if available and informative) does not prove diffuse HI disease. Such children might be considered if they have one or more of the following situations
no genetic testing results (e.g., due to insurance denial or parental refusal)
negative genetic testing (note: only 75% of mutations may be found with existing technology)
no autosomal recessive mutations in ABCC8 or KCNJ11 on the maternal allele
no autosomal dominant mutations in ABCC8 or KCNJ11
Patients thought to have focal HI disease based on genetic testing or insulinoma based on clinical evaluation and have well-controlled blood glucose levels with any degree of dietary or medical management, BUT the patient and their parent(s) or LAR wishes to proceed with surgery for a possible cure of HI disease

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who do not have a diagnosis of HI
Patients with genetic evidence of diffuse HI
Patients who are pregnant
Nursing mothers who are unwilling to discontinue breastfeeding their infant for 48 hours after Fluorodopa F 18 injection
Patients with a known allergy to Fluorodopa F 18 agent
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note