Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine

Feasibility of fluorine-18-fluorophenylalanine for tumor imaging compared with carbon-11-L-methionine.

PMID 8667070


L-[methyl-11C]methionine (11C-Met) is a useful tracer for tumor imaging with PET. The drawbacks include a short half-life and high physiological accumulation in abdominal organs. To overcome these shortfalls, the feasible use of [18F]fluorophenylalanine (18F-Phe), which shares the same amino acid transport system with Met, for tumor imaging was examined. The time course of tissue distribution of 18F-Phe and the tumor uptake response to radiotherapy were compared with 14C-Met and [3H] thymidine (3H-Thd) in the rat AH109A tumor model. Intratumoral distribution of 18F-Phe was compared with 14C-Met and 14C-Thd using double-tracer macroautoradiography (ARG). We also evaluated whole-body ARG. Tumor uptake of 18F-Phe peaked at 60 min postinjection and was higher than that of the liver, intestine and kidney but lower than the pancreas. Tumor uptake of 18F-Phe was similar to that of 14C-Met. Tumor-to-blood and tumor-to-muscle ratios were higher in 14C-Met compared with that of 18F-Phe because of the rapid blood clearance of 14C-Met. With whole-body ARG, the tumor was clearly visualized with high contrast. Radiotherapeutic response of tumor uptake of 18F-Phe was as rapid as that with 14C-Met and with 3H-Thd. Intratumoral distribution of 18F-Phe and 14C-Met were identical, and 18F-Phe and 14C-Thd were similar. Fluorine-18-Phe seems to be a potentially useful amino acid tracer for tumor imaging with a longer half-life than 11C, with higher tumor contrast in the abdomen than Met and a similar sensitive response to radiotherapy.

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o-Fluoro-DL-phenylalanine, ≥98%