Molecular Imaging in Oncology Using Positron Emission Tomography

Derlin T, Grünwald V, Steinbach J, Wester HJ, Ross TL

16.03.2018 [Original Artikel]

BACKGROUND: Anatomical and molecular data can be acquired simultaneously through the use of positron emission tomography (PET) in combination with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a hybrid technique. A variety of radiopharmaceuticals can be used to characterize various metabolic processes or to visualize the expression of receptors, enzymes, and other molecular target structures. METHODS: This review is based on pertinent publications retrieved by a selective search in PubMed, as well as on guidelines from Germany and abroad and on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. RESULTS: Established radiopharmaceuticals for PET, such as 2-[18F]fluoro-2- deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG), enable the visualization of physiological processes on the molecular level and can provide vital information for clinical decision-making. For example, PET can be used to evaluate pulmonary nodules for malignancy with 95% sensitivity and 82% specificity. It can be used both for initial staging and for the guidance of further treatment. Alongside the PET radiopharmaceuticals that have already been well studied and evaluated, newer ones are increasingly becoming available for the noninvasive phenotyping of tumor diseases, e.g., for analyzing the expression of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), of somatostatin receptors, or of chemokine receptors on tumor cells. CONCLUSION: PET is an important component of diagnostic algorithms in oncology. It can help make diagnosis more precise and treatment more individualized. An increasing number of PET radiopharmaceuticals are now expanding the available options for imaging. Many radiopharmaceuticals can be used not only for noninvasive analysis of the expression of therapeutically relevant target structures, but also for the ensuing, target-directed treatment with radionuclides.

Re-thinking the role of radiometal isotopes: Towards a future concept for theranostic radiopharmaceuticals

Notni J, Wester HJ

01.03.2018 [Original Artikel]

The potential and future role of certain metal radionuclides, for example, 44 Sc, 89 Zr, 86 Y, 64 Cu, 68 Ga, 177 Lu, 225 Ac, and 213 Bi, and several terbium isotopes has been controversially discussed in the past decades. Furthermore, the possible benefits of "matched pairs" of isotopes for tandem applications of diagnostics and therapeutics (theranostics) have been emphasized, while such approaches still have not made their way into routine clinical practice. Analysis of bibliographical data illustrates how popularity of certain nuclides has been promoted by cycles of availability and applications. We furthermore discuss the different practical requirements for diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals and the resulting consequences for efficient development of clinically useful pairs of radionuclide theranostics, with particular emphasis on the underlying economical factors. Based on an exemplary assessment of overall production costs for 68 Ga and 18 F radiopharmaceuticals, we venture a look into the future of theranostics and predict that high-throughput PET applications, that is, diagnosis of frequent conditions, will ultimately rely on 18 F tracers. PET radiometals will occupy a niche in the clinical low-throughput sector (diagnosis of rare diseases), but above all, dominate preclinical research and clinical translation. Matched isotope pairs will be of lesser relevance for theranostics but may become important for future PET-based therapeutic dosimetry.