In vivo imaging of glucose uptake and metabolism in tumors

Nat Med. 2013 Aug;19(8):1067-72. doi: 10.1038/nm.3252. Epub 2013 Jul 7.


Tumors have a greater reliance on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production than normal tissues. We developed a noninvasive method for imaging glucose uptake in vivo that is based on magnetic resonance imaging and allows the uptake of unlabeled glucose to be measured through the chemical exchange of protons between hydroxyl groups and water. This method differs from existing molecular imaging methods because it permits detection of the delivery and uptake of a metabolically active compound in physiological quantities. We show that our technique, named glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST), is sensitive to tumor glucose accumulation in colorectal tumor models and can distinguish tumor types with differing metabolic characteristics and pathophysiologies. The results of this study suggest that glucoCEST has potential as a useful and cost-effective method for characterizing disease and assessing response to therapy in the clinic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose / chemistry
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Perfusion
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose