[18F-Berberine Derivatives: a Potential Molecular Imaging Agent for Tumor Targeting by PET/CT Tumor]

Sheng Wu Yi Xue Gong Cheng Xue Za Zhi. 2015 Apr;32(2):460-4.
[Article in Chinese]


Cancer is one of the main causes of death for human beings. Clinical oncologists increasingly rely upon imaging for diagnosis, stage, response assessment, and follow-up in cancer patient. However, 18F-FDG is not a tumor specific agent, inflammation and infection also have intensive uptake of 18F-FDG, resulting in false positive diagnosis, and some tumors have low uptake of 18F-FDG or even do not uptake 18F-FDG, leading to false negative diagnosis. So it is urgent to develop non-18F-FDG novel tumor targeting agent. Recently, a large number of researches in vitro have demonstrated that berberine has anti-tumor activity against a variety of tumor cells by inducing tumor cell apoptosis through inhibition of mitochondrial respiratory chain etc. So far, there is no credible evidence of berberine targeting in tumor in vivo. We proposed a hypothesis that berberine has the characteristics of tumor targeting biodistribution in vivo, and verified the proposal by 18F-berberine PET/CT imaging in VX2 muscle tumor-bearing rabbit model. In this review, we intend to give an overview of the progress of berberine anticancer, the structural bases of berberine anticancer and the uderlying molecular mechanisms of berberine anticancer indentified so far. We also introduce the first visualization of 18F labeled berberine derivatives targeting tumor in VX2 muscle tumor-bearing rabbit model by PET/CT. These breakthrough findings suggest that 18F-berberine derivatives as a potential PET/CT tumor targeted molecular imaging agent may have important implications for cancer targeting therapy, molecular imaging and modernization of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Berberine / chemistry*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Berberine
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18