Hormones & cancer

Metomidate-based imaging of adrenal masses.

PMID 22124841


Due to broader use of conventional imaging techniques, adrenal tumors are detected with increasing frequency comprising a wide variety of different tumor entities. Despite improved conventional imaging techniques, a significant number of adrenal lesions remain that cannot be easily determined. A particular diagnostic challenge are lesions in patients with known extra-adrenal malignancy because these patients frequently harbor adrenal metastases. Furthermore, adrenal masses with low fat content and no detectable hormone excess are difficult to diagnose properly. Fine needle biopsy is invasive, often unsuccessful, and puts patients at risk, e. g., in cases of pheochromocytoma or adrenal cancer. Noninvasive characterization using radiotracers has therefore been established in recent years. (18)F-FDG PET helps to differentiate benign from malignant lesions. However, it does not distinguish between adrenocortical or nonadrenocortical lesions (e.g., metastases or adrenocortical carcinoma). More recently, enzyme inhibitors have been developed as tracers for adrenal imaging. Metomidate is most widely used. It binds with high specificity and affinity to CYP11B enzymes of the adrenal cortex. As these enzymes are exclusively expressed in adrenocortical cells, uptake of labeled metomidate tracers has been shown to be highly specific for adrenocortical neoplasia. (11)C-metomidate PET and (123)I-iodometomidate SPECT imaging has been introduced into clinical use. Both tracers not only distinguish between adrenocortical and nonadrenocortical lesions but are also able to visualize metastases of adrenocortical carcinoma. The very specific uptake has recently led to first application of (131)I-iodometomidate for radiotherapy in ACC. In conclusion, metomidate-based imaging is an important complementary tool to diagnose adrenal lesions that cannot be determined by other methods.

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E2503004 Etomidate impurity B, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard