Basics and principles of radiopharmaceuticals for PET/CT

Eur J Radiol. 2010 Mar;73(3):461-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.12.022. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


The presented review provides general background on PET radiopharmaceuticals for oncological applications. Special emphasis is put on radiopharmacological, radiochemical and regulatory aspects. This review is not meant to give details on all different PET tracers in depth but to provide insights into the general principles coming along with their preparation and use. The PET tracer plays a pivotal role because it provides the basis both for image quality and clinical interpretation. It is composed of the radionuclide (signaller) and the molecular vehicle which determines the (bio-)chemical properties (e.g. binding characteristics, metabolism, elimination rate).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / chemistry
  • Gallium Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles / chemistry
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiochemistry / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemistry*
  • Rubidium Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • Nitrogen Radioisotopes
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Rubidium Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18