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Imaging diagnostic standard in multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN)


Among all hereditary cancer syndromes MEN Type 1 and 2 are characterized by the concurrent but independent appearance of benign as well as malignant tumours. Neoplasias of parathyroid glands, pancreas, pituitary gland as well as neuroendocrine tumours of the stomach and intestinal wall are typical for MEN 1. Medullary thyroid carcinomas together with parathyroid adenomas and phaeochromocytomas are hallmarks of MEN 2. This presentation gives an overview about the multitude of imaging techniques that are inevitable for diagnostics and long-term follow up in MEN patients beyond molecular genetic and laboratory methods.


Ultrasound (US) combined with nuclear medicine techniques are the leading methods to screen for pathologies of thyroid, parathyroid glands and cervical lymph nodes. For assessing metastases of a medullary thyroid carcinoma (MEN 2) DOTA-PET/CT is useful in addition to a CT/MR scan and neck and abdominal US. To detect phaeochromocytoma in MEN 2, CT and MRI are superior to US. MIBG scintigraphy can be performed in unclear cases. In primary hyperparathyroidism in MEN 1 cervical US is the leading method, supplemented by Tc-99m sestamibi scintigraphy or 11c-methionine PET/CT. DOTATOC PET/CT may supplement contrast-enhanced CT or MRI in detecting even small gastrinomas or other neuroendocrine tumours of the GI tract. In the examination of the pituitary gland, gadolinium enhanced dynamic MRI is standard.


Given the complexity of multimodal imaging, a close collaboration of clinical radiology and nuclear medicine is essential to tailor the imaging protocol for MEN patients.

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Correspondence to J Tesdorff.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Tesdorff, J., Wilhelm, T. Imaging diagnostic standard in multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN). cancer imaging 14 (Suppl 1), P31 (2014).

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