Cancer imaging with fluorine-18-labeled choline derivatives

Semin Nucl Med. 2007 Nov;37(6):420-8. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2007.07.003.


The choline transporter and choline kinase enzyme frequently are overexpressed in malignancy. Therefore, positron-emitter-labeled compounds derived from choline have the potential to serve as oncologic probes for positron emission tomography. The fluorine-18 ((18)F)-labeled choline derivative fluorocholine (FCH) in particular has demonstrated potential utility for imaging of a variety of neoplasms, including those of the breast, prostate, liver, and brain. The pharmacokinetics of FCH and other choline tracers allow for whole-body imaging within minutes of injection while still achieving high tumor-to-background contrast in most organs, including the brain. These features, along with the possibility of imaging malignancies that have proved elusive with the use of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography support further clinical investigations of (18)F-labeled choline tracers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Choline / pharmacokinetics
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Radiopharmaceuticals* / pharmacokinetics


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • fluorocholine
  • Choline