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J Nucl Med. 2012 Jul;53(7):1135-45. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.111.101659. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Analysis of the growth dynamics of angiogenesis-dependent and -independent experimental glioblastomas by multimodal small-animal PET and MRI.

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Westfälische Wilhelm-University Münster (WWU), European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI), Münster, Germany.


The hypothesis of this study was that distinct experimental glioblastoma phenotypes resembling human disease can be noninvasively distinguished at various disease stages by imaging in vivo.


Cultured spheroids from 2 human glioblastomas were implanted into the brains of nude rats. Glioblastoma growth dynamics were followed by PET using (18)F-FDG, (11)C-methyl-l-methionine ((11)C-MET), and 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) and by MRI at 3-6 wk after implantation. For image validation, parameters were coregistered with immunohistochemical analysis.


Two tumor phenotypes (angiogenic and infiltrative) were obtained. The angiogenic phenotype showed high uptake of (11)C-MET and (18)F-FLT and relatively low uptake of (18)F-FDG. (11)C-MET was an early indicator of vessel remodeling and tumor proliferation. (18)F-FLT uptake correlated to positive Ki67 staining at 6 wk. T1- and T2-weighted MR images displayed clear tumor delineation with strong gadolinium enhancement at 6 wk. The infiltrative phenotype did not accumulate (11)C-MET and (18)F-FLT and impaired the (18)F-FDG uptake. In contrast, the Ki67 index showed a high proliferation rate. The extent of the infiltrative tumors could be observed by MRI but with low contrast.


For angiogenic glioblastomas, noninvasive assessment of tumor activity corresponds well to immunohistochemical markers, and (11)C-MET was more sensitive than (18)F-FLT at detecting early tumor development. In contrast, infiltrative glioblastoma growth in the absence of blood-brain barrier breakdown is difficult to noninvasively follow by existing imaging techniques, and a negative (18)F-FLT PET result does not exclude the presence of proliferating glioma tissue. The angiogenic model may serve as an advanced system to study imaging-guided antiangiogenic and antiproliferative therapies.

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