[18F]FLT-PET in oncology: current status and opportunities

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2004 Dec;31(12):1659-72. doi: 10.1007/s00259-004-1687-6.


In recent years, [18F]-fluoro-3'-deoxy-3'-L: -fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT) has been developed as a proliferation tracer. Imaging and measurement of proliferation with PET could provide us with a non-invasive staging tool and a tool to monitor the response to anticancer treatment. In this review, the basis of [18F]FLT as a proliferation tracer is discussed. Furthermore, an overview of the current status of [18F]FLT-PET research is given. The results of this research show that although [18F]FLT is a tracer that visualises cellular proliferation, it also has certain limitations. In comparison with the most widely used PET tracer, [18F]FDG, [18F]FLT uptake is lower in most cases. Furthermore, [18F]FLT uptake does not always reflect the tumour cell proliferation rate, for example during or shortly after certain chemotherapy regimens. The opportunities provided by, and the limitations of, [18F]FLT as a proliferation tracer are addressed in this review, and directions are given for further research, taking into account the strong and weak points of the new tracer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dideoxynucleosides*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods*
  • Neoplasm Staging / trends
  • Neoplasms / classification
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / trends*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Dideoxynucleosides
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • alovudine