Kinetic analysis of 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) in head and neck cancer patients before and early after initiation of chemoradiation therapy

J Nucl Med. 2009 Jul;50(7):1028-35. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.108.058495. Epub 2009 Jun 12.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the kinetic behavior of 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) before and early after initiation of chemoradiation therapy in patients with squamous cell head and neck cancer.

Methods: A total of 8 patients with head and neck cancer underwent (18)F-FLT PET scans (7 patients at baseline and after 5 d [10 Gy] of radiation therapy given with concomitant chemotherapy and 1 patient only at baseline). Dynamic PET images were obtained with concurrent arterial or venous blood sampling. Kinetic parameters including the flux constant of (18)F-FLT based on compartmental analysis (K-FLT), the Patlak influx constant (K-Patlak), and standardized uptake value (SUV) were calculated for the primary tumor and (18)F-FLT-avid cervical lymph nodes for all scans.

Results: Mean pretreatment values of uptake for the primary tumor and cervical nodes were 0.075 +/- 0.006 min(-1), 0.042 +/- 0.004 min(-1), and 3.4 +/- 0.5 (mean +/- SD) for K-FLT, K-Patlak, and SUV, respectively. After 10 Gy of radiation therapy, these values were 0.040 +/- 0.01 min(-1), 0.018 +/- 0.016 min(-1), and 1.8 +/- 1.1 for K-FLT, K-Patlak, and SUV, respectively. For all lesions seen on pretherapy and midtherapy scans, the correlation was 0.90 between K-FLT and K-Patlak, 0.91 between K-FLT and SUV, and 0.99 between K-Patlak and SUV.

Conclusion: The initial (18)F-FLT uptake and change early after treatment in squamous head and neck tumors can be adequately characterized with SUV obtained at 45-60 min, which demonstrates excellent correlation with influx parameters obtained from compartmental and Patlak analyses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dideoxynucleosides / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant


  • Dideoxynucleosides
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • alovudine