Diagnostic usefulness of ¹⁸F-FAMT PET and L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2013 Oct;40(11):1692-700. doi: 10.1007/s00259-013-2477-9. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Purpose: L-[3-(18)F]-α-Methyltyrosine ((18)F-FAMT) was developed as an amino acid tracer for PET imaging to provide better specificity than 2-[(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ((18)F-FDG) PET for cancer diagnosis. We investigated the diagnostic usefulness of (18)F-FAMT in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The correlation between tumour uptake of (18)F-FAMT and L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) expression was determined.

Methods: The study group comprised 68 OSCC patients who underwent both (18)F-FAMT and (18)F-FDG PET. Resected tumour sections were stained by immunohistochemistry for LAT1, CD98 and Ki-67, and microvessel density was determined in terms of CD34 and p53 expression.

Results: The sensitivity of primary tumour detection by (18)F-FAMT and (18)F-FDG PET was 98 % and 100 %, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of (18)F-FAMT PET for detecting malignant lymph nodes were 68 %, 99 % and 97 %, respectively, and equivalent values for (18)F-FDG PET were 84 %, 94 % and 94 %, respectively. The specificity and accuracy of (18)F-FAMT were significantly higher than those of (18)F-FDG. The uptake of (18)F-FAMT was significantly correlated with LAT1 expression, cell proliferation and advanced stage. The expression of LAT1 in OSCC cells was closely correlated with CD98 levels, cell proliferation and angiogenesis.

Conclusion: (18)F-FAMT PET showed higher specificity for detecting malignant lesions than (18)F-FDG PET. The uptake of (18)F-FAMT by OSCC cells can be determined by the presence of LAT1 expression and tumour cell proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1 / genetics
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Methyltyrosines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*


  • 3-fluoro-alpha-methyltyrosine
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1
  • Methyltyrosines
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18