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J Nucl Med. 2001 Nov;42(11):1643-52.

Imaging of blood flow and hypoxia in head and neck cancer: initial evaluation with [(15)O]H(2)O and [(18)F]fluoroerythronitroimidazole PET.

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1
Medicity Research Laboratory and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Laboratory, Turku PET Centre, Finland.

Abstract

Hypoxia is a characteristic feature of malignant tumors that should be evaluated before the start of therapy. (18)F-labeled fluoroerythronitroimidazole (FETNIM) is a possible candidate for imaging tumor hypoxia with PET. Quantitative analysis of [(18)F]FETNIM uptake in vivo is necessary before proceeding to assays predicting hypoxia.

METHODS:

Eight patients with untreated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent dynamic PET imaging with [(18)F]FETNIM, coupled with measurements of blood flow with [(15)O]H(2)O and blood volume with [(15)O]CO. The metabolically active tumor volume was determined from [(18)F]FDG PET performed on a separate day. [(18)F]FETNIM uptake in the tumor was correlated with that in neck muscles and arterial plasma and compared with the findings of other PET studies.

RESULTS:

Blood flow in tumor was 5- to 30-fold greater than in muscle, in contrast to blood volume, which did not significantly differ in the 2 tissues. With [(18)F]FETNIM PET, muscle activity remained invariably less than plasma activity, whereas activity in whole tumors was always greater than that in muscle. In 4 instances, the maximum tumor uptake of [(18)F]FETNIM was 1.2-2.0 times higher than plasma activity in the late dynamic phase. A kinetic model developed for calculation of distribution volume of reversibly trapping tracers was successfully applied in the [(18)F]FETNIM studies. Tumor distribution volume correlated strongly with the standardized uptake value of [(18)F]FETNIM between 60 and 120 min and with blood flow but not with the standardized uptake value of [(18)F]FDG. The relationship between [(18)F]FETNIM uptake and the blood flow of the tumor was less obvious on a pixel-by-pixel level.

CONCLUSION:

Uptake of [(18)F]FETNIM in head and neck cancer is highly variable and seems to be governed by blood flow at least in the early phase of tissue accumulation. Maximum tumor-to-muscle tracer uptake ratios > 180 min were in the range of 1-4, comparing favorably with those reported previously for [(18)F]fluoromisonidazole. Assessment of the distribution volume of [(18)F]FETNIM after the initial blood-flow phase is feasible for subsequent evaluation of hypoxia-specific retention.

PMID:
11696633
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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