Translating In Vivo Metabolomic Analysis of Succinate Dehydrogenase–Deficient Tumors Into Clinical Utility

02 Jul 2018

Purpose Mutations in the mitochondrial enzyme succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunit genes are associated with a wide spectrum of tumors, including pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas, GI stromal tumors, renal cell carcinomas, and pituitary adenomas. SDH-related tumorigenesis is believed to be secondary to accumulation of the oncometabolite succinate. Our aim was to investigate the potential clinical applications of proton-1 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in a range of suspected SDH-related tumors. Patients and Methods Fifteen patients were recruited to this study. Respiratory-gated single-voxel 1H-MRS was performed at 3T to quantify the content of succinate at 2.4 ppm and choline at 3.22 ppm. Results A succinate peak was seen in six patients, all of whom had germ line SDHx mutations or loss of SDHB by immunohistochemistry. Succinate peaks were also detected in two patients with metastatic wild-type GI stromal tumors and no detectable germ line SDHx mutations but with somatic epimutations in SDHC. Three patients without tumor succinate peaks retained SDHB expression, consistent with SDH functionality. In six patients with borderline or absent peaks, technical difficulties such as motion artifact rendered 1H-MRS difficult to interpret. Sequential imaging in a patient with a metastatic abdominal paraganglioma demonstrated loss of the succinate peak after four cycles of [177Lu]DOTATATE, with a corresponding biochemical response in normetanephrine. Conclusion This study has demonstrated the translation into clinical practice of in vivo metabolomic analysis using 1H-MRS in patients with SDH-deficient tumors. Potential applications include noninvasive diagnosis and disease stratification, as well as monitoring of tumor response to targeted treatments.