Radiolabeled choline as a proliferation marker: comparison with radiolabeled acetate

Nucl Med Biol. 2004 Oct;31(7):859-65. doi: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2004.05.002.


[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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacokinetics*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Choline / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Acetates
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Choline