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Nucl Med Biol. 2004 Oct;31(7):859-65.

Radiolabeled choline as a proliferation marker: comparison with radiolabeled acetate.

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Biomedical Imaging Research Center, University of Fukui, 23-3, Shimoaizuki, Matsuoka, Yoshida, Fukui, 910-1193, Japan.


[11C]Choline is a potential tracer to detect tumors, especially brain and prostate cancers. The metabolism of [11C]choline defines the accumulation pattern of [11C]choline in tumors depicted by positron emission tomography. Choline is a precursor of phosphatidylcholine that is a major constituent of membrane lipids. Membrane lipid synthesis as well as DNA synthesis is activated during cell proliferation. We investigated the relation between [14C]choline metabolism and proliferative activity using 10 tumor cell lines and fibroblasts. [14C]Choline uptake was higher in tumor cells than in fibroblasts and was correlated with the proliferative activity, though the sensitivity of [14C]choline uptake to proliferative activity was less than that of [1-14C]acetate. [14C]Phosphocholine produced from [14C]choline by phosphorylation mainly contributed to this accumulation. [11C]Choline can be used for the evaluation of tumor proliferation through estimating choline kinase activity.

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