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J Nucl Med. 2012 Jun;53(6):939-46. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.111.100354. Epub 2012 May 11.

PET of HER2-positive pulmonary metastases with 18F-ZHER2:342 affibody in a murine model of breast cancer: comparison with 18F-FDG.

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Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Nucl Med. 2012 Jul;53(7):1169. Omer, Aras [corrected to Aras, Omer].


Targeted therapies often depend on the expression of the target present in the tumor. This expression can be difficult to ascertain in widespread metastases. (18)F-FDG PET/CT, although sensitive, is nonspecific for particular tumor markers. Here, we compare the use of a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-specific (18)F-Z(HER2)(:342)-Affibody and (18)F-FDG in HER2-expressing pulmonary metastases in a murine model of breast cancer.


The lung metastasis model was established by intravenous injection of MDA-MB-231(HER2)-Luc human breast cancer cells into the tail vein. Bioluminescence imaging was used to evaluate metastasis progression. Uptake of (18)F-Z(HER2)(:342)-Affibody and (18)F-FDG was confirmed by coregistration of the PET images with MR and CT images. At the end of the study, the presence of neoplastic cells and HER2 expression in lung tissues, and distribution of the tracer, were assessed ex vivo by immunohistochemistry and autoradiography.


(18)F-Z(HER2)(:342)-Affibody successfully targeted HER2-positive lesions in the lung and allowed detection of metastases as early as 9 wk after injection of cells. In contrast, (18)F-FDG uptake was often masked by surrounding inflammatory changes and was nonspecific for HER2 expression. HER2 expression at a cellular level correlated well with tracer uptake on autoradiography.


(18)F-Z(HER2)(:342)-Affibody is a promising tracer for evaluation of HER2 status of breast cancer metastases and is more specific for detecting HER2-positive lesions than (18)F-FDG.

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