Biodistribution and radiation dosimetry of deuterium-substituted 18F-fluoromethyl-[1, 2-2H4]choline in healthy volunteers

J Nucl Med. 2014 Feb;55(2):256-63. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.113.129577.


(11)C-choline and (18)F-fluoromethylcholine ((18)F-FCH) have been used in patients to study tumor metabolic activity in vivo; however, both radiotracers are readily oxidized to respective betaine analogs, with metabolites detectable in plasma soon after injection of the radiotracer. A more metabolically stable FCH analog, (18)F-fluoromethyl-[1,2-(2)H4]choline ((18)F-D4-FCH), based on the deuterium isotope effect, has been developed. We report the safety, biodistribution, and internal radiation dosimetry profiles of (18)F-D4-FCH in 8 healthy human volunteers.

Methods: (18)F-D4-FCH was intravenously administered as a bolus injection (mean ± SD, 161 ± 2.17 MBq; range, 156-163 MBq) to 8 healthy volunteers (4 men, 4 women). Whole-body (vertex to mid thigh) PET/CT scans were acquired at 6 time points, up to 4 h after tracer injection. Serial whole-blood, plasma, and urine samples were collected for radioactivity measurement and plasma radiotracer metabolites. Tissue (18)F radioactivities were determined from quantitative analysis of the images, and time-activity curves were generated. The total numbers of disintegrations in each organ normalized to injected activity (residence times) were calculated as the area under the curve of the time-activity curve normalized to injected activities and standard organ volumes. Dosimetry calculations were performed using OLINDA/EXM 1.1.

Results: The injection of (18)F-D4-FCH was well tolerated in all subjects, with no radiotracer-related serious adverse event reported. The mean effective dose averaged over both men and women (± SD) was estimated to be 0.025 ± 0.004 (men, 0.022 ± 0.002; women, 0.027 ± 0.002) mSv/MBq. The 5 organs receiving the highest absorbed dose (mGy/MBq) were the kidneys (0.106 ± 0.03), liver (0.094 ± 0.03), pancreas (0.066 ± 0.01), urinary bladder wall (0.047 ± 0.02), and adrenals (0.046 ± 0.01). Elimination was through the renal and hepatic systems.

Conclusion: (18)F-D4-FCH is a safe PET radiotracer with a dosimetry profile comparable to other common (18)F PET tracers. These data support the further development of (18)F-D4-FCH for clinical imaging of choline metabolism.

Keywords: 18F-D4-FCH; biodistribution; dosimetry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Choline / pharmacokinetics
  • Deuterium / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Patient Safety
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • fluoromethylcholine
  • Deuterium
  • Choline