Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of (18)F-fluorothymidine (FLT) PET/CT for imaging pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Methods: This was a pilot study of five patients (four males, one female) with newly diagnosed and previously untreated pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Patients underwent FLT PET/CT, (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT, and contrast-enhanced CT scanning before treatment. The presence of cancer was confirmed by histopathological analysis at the time of scanning in all five patients. The degree of FLT and FDG uptake at the primary tumor site was assessed using visual interpretation and semi-quantitative SUV analyses.
Results: The primary tumor size ranged from 2.5 x 2.8 cm to 3.5 x 7.0 cm. The SUV of FLT uptake within the primary tumor ranged from 2.1 to 3.1. Using visual interpretation, the primary cancer could be detected from background activity in two of five patients (40%) on FLT PET/CT. By comparison, FDG uptake was higher in each patient with a SUV range of 3.4 to 10.8, and the primary cancer could be detected from background in all five patients (100%).
Conclusions: In this pilot study of five patients with primary pancreatic adenocarcinoma, FLT PET/CT scanning showed poor lesion detectability and relatively low levels of radiotracer uptake in the primary tumor.