Comparison of Kinetic Models for Dual-Tracer Receptor Concentration Imaging in Tumors

Austin J Biomed Eng. 2014 Mar 5;1(1)


Molecular differences between cancerous and healthy tissue have become key targets for novel therapeutics specific to tumor receptors. However, cancer cell receptor expression can vary within and amongst different tumors, making strategies that can quantify receptor concentration in vivo critical for the progression of targeted therapies. Recently a dual-tracer imaging approach capable of providing quantitative measures of receptor concentration in vivo was developed. It relies on the simultaneous injection and imaging of receptor-targeted tracer and an untargeted tracer (to account for non-specific uptake of the targeted tracer). Early implementations of this approach have been structured on existing "reference tissue" imaging methods that have not been optimized for or validated in dual-tracer imaging. Using simulations and mouse tumor model experimental data, the salient findings in this study were that all widely used reference tissue kinetic models can be used for dual-tracer imaging, with the linearized simplified reference tissue model offering a good balance of accuracy and computational efficiency. Moreover, an alternate version of the full two-compartment reference tissue model can be employed accurately by assuming that the K1s of the targeted and untargeted tracers are similar to avoid assuming an instantaneous equilibrium between bound and free states (made by all other models).