VEGF-PET imaging is a noninvasive biomarker showing differential changes in the tumor during sunitinib treatment

Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 1;71(1):143-53. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1088. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Non-invasive imaging of angiogenesis could ease the optimization of antiangiogenesis treatments for cancer. In this study, we evaluated the role of VEGF-PET as a biomarker of dynamic angiogenic changes in tumors following treatment with the kinase inhibitor sunitinib. The effects of sunitinib treatment and withdrawal on the tumor was investigated using the new VEGF-PET tracer (89)Zr-ranibizumab as well as (18)F-FDG PET, and (15)O-water PET in mouse xenograft models of human cancer. The obtained imaging results were compared with tumor growth, VEGF plasma levels and immunohistologic analyzes. In contrast to (18)F-FDG and (15)O-water PET, VEGF-PET demonstrated dynamic changes during sunitinib treatment within the tumor with a strong decline in signal in the tumor center and only minimal reduction in tumor rim, with a pronounced rebound after sunitinib discontinuation. VEGF-PET results corresponded with tumor growth and immunohistochemical vascular- and tumor- markers. Our findings highlight the strengths of VEGF-PET imaging to allow serial analysis of angiogenic changes in different areas within a tumor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Sunitinib
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Indoles
  • Pyrroles
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Sunitinib