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Nucl Med Biol. 2003 Apr;30(3):317-26.

[18F]Fluoroazomycinarabinofuranoside (18FAZA) and [18F]Fluoromisonidazole (18FMISO): a comparative study of their selective uptake in hypoxic cells and PET imaging in experimental rat tumors.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.


The present study compares the uptake of [(18)F]Fluoroazomycinarabinofuranoside ((18)FAZA), a recently developed hypoxia tracer for PET imaging of tissue hypoxia, with an established tracer [(18)F]Fluoromisonidazole ((18)FMISO) both in vitro, using Walker 256 rat carcinosarcoma cells, and in vivo in experimental rat tumors eleven to twelve days after tumor cell implantation. In vitro studies indicated that hypoxia-selective uptake of both (18)FAZA and (18)FMISO in tumor cells, 20 and 100 minutes post-incubation was of the same magnitude (20 min: 1.24 +/- 0.4% ((18)FAZA); 1.19 +/- 0.7% ((18)FMISO); 100 min: 3.6 +/- 1.6% ((18)FAZA); 3.3 +/- 1.7% ((18)FMISO)). PET imaging reflected a similar radiotracer distribution in rat tumors for (18)FAZA and (18)FMISO one h after radiotracer injection. The concentration of (18)FAZA in the tumors as measured by PET, however, was lower in comparison to (18)FMISO (SUV(FAZA) = 0.61 +/- 0.2 vs. SUV(FMISO) = 0.92 +/- 0.3, p < 0.05) although the tumor to muscle ratios for (18)FAZA and (18)FMISO did not differ in the PET images that were obtained after one h (SUV(FAZA) = 2.5 +/- 0.5 vs. SUV(FMISO) = 2.9 +/- 0.7). A comparison of PET data three h post-injection (SUV(FAZA) = 3.0 +/- 0.5 vs. SUV(FMISO) = 4.6 +/- 1.8, p < 0.05) demonstrated a lower (18)FAZA uptake that indicates a lower sensitivity of (18)FAZA in comparison to (18)FMISO in detecting hypoxic regions at a longer time in this animal model. However, these data also show a faster elimination of (18)FAZA from blood, viscera and muscle tissue, via the renal system. This advantage of a faster reduction of unspecific binding, in light of similar or marginally lower tumor uptake, warrants further investigation of (18)FAZA as a marker of regional hypoxia in tumors.

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