Purpose: The 2-(2-nitroimidazol-1-yl)-N-(3,3,3-trifluoropropyl)acetamide (EF3) is a 2-nitroimidazole derivative which undergoes bioreductive activation under hypoxic conditions. Using the PET tracer [18F]EF3 in mice, tumour-to-muscle ratios ranging from 1.3 to 3.5 were observed. This study investigated the impact of various interventions aimed at increasing [18F]EF3 elimination, thus potentially increasing the tumour-to-noise ratio in mice, by increasing the renal filtration rate (spironolactone, furosemide), decreasing tubular re-absorption (metronidazole, ornidazole, amino acid solution) or stimulating gastro-intestinal elimination (phenobarbital).
Methods: C3H mice were injected i.v. with an average of 12.95 MBq of [18F]EF3. Drugs were injected i.v. 15 min before the tracer or daily 4 days prior to the experiment (phenobarbital). Anaesthetised mice were imaged from 30 to 300 min with a dedicated animal PET (Mosaic, Philips). Regions of interest were delineated around the tumour, bladder, heart, liver and leg muscle. Radioactivity was expressed as a percentage of injected activity per gram of tissue.
Results: Ornidazole decreased the urinary excretion and increased the liver uptake of [18F]EF3, but without causing any changes in the other organs. Phenobarbital significantly increased the liver concentration and decreased radioactivity in blood and muscle without affecting the tracer uptake in tumour. Consequently, a small but non-significant increase in tumour-to-noise ratio was observed. Although some effects were observed with other drugs, they did not modify the tumour-to-noise ratio.
Conclusion: Only phenobarbital induced a trend toward an increased tumour-to-noise ratio that could possibly be tested in the clinical situation.