18F-fluorocholine for prostate cancer imaging: a systematic review of the literature

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2012 Mar;15(1):45-55. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2011.35. Epub 2011 Aug 16.


Background: Positron emission tomography (PET or combined PET-computed tomography (PET/CT)) allows the non-invasive interrogation of metabolic processes using radiolabeled probes. Altered choline metabolism has been noted as a characteristic of prostate cancer (PCa), and radiolabeled choline and choline analogs have been investigated as PET/CT imaging agents for prostate cancer; [(18)F]fluoromethyl-dimethyl-2-hydroxyethyl-ammonium ((18)F-FCH) shows particular promise as a PCa imaging agent given its favorable physical and pharmacokinetic properties.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of results to date with (18)F-FCH. As the tracer was first described by DeGrado in 2001, we limited our search from January 2001 to August 2011.

Results: In all, 37 studies including 1244 patients met the inclusion criteria. Studies included those detailing the radiosynthesis of (18)F-FCH, preclinical and early clinical dosimetry, and biodistribution (n=7); evaluation of local disease (n=6), nodal disease (n=5), bone metastases and castrate-resistant disease (n=7), biochemical recurrence (n=11), radiotherapy planning (n=7) and sources of false-positive studies (n=2); and some studies reported on multiple indications. Potential sources of variations in the studies affecting reported performance included case series size, variation in extent of disease at imaging (including Gleason grade, and PSA), selection of gold standards for comparison and variations in scan technique.

Conclusions: On the basis of the review, we suggest potential scenarios where this metabolic imaging might be considered for further evaluation in clinical trials for guiding PCa management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Choline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Choline / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Orchiectomy
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiopharmaceuticals* / pharmacokinetics
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • fluorocholine
  • Choline