Noninvasive In Vivo Imaging and Biologic Characterization of Thyroid Tumors by ImmunoPET Targeting of Galectin-3

Cancer Res. 2016 Jun 15;76(12):3583-92. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-3046. Epub 2016 May 23.


The high prevalence of thyroid nodules in the adult population and the relatively low incidence of thyroid cancer make the preoperative identification of malignant lesions challenging. The β-galactoside-binding protein galectin-3 is widely expressed in well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas, but not in normal thyrocytes and benign thyroid nodules. This molecule offers a candidate biomarker to improve thyroid cancer diagnosis. Here we report the development of an immunoPET approach for noninvasive imaging of thyroid cancer. The method employs a (89)Zr-labeled mAb to galectin-3, which shows high specificity and binding affinity in vitro Reliable and specific immunoPET imaging was obtained of thyroid cancer in vivo in murine xenograft models of human thyroid cancer. Our findings provide a method to improve the clinical management of patients with thyroid nodules while reducing unnecessary surgery and social costs. Cancer Res; 76(12); 3583-92. ©2016 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Galectin 3 / analysis*
  • Galectin 3 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radioimmunodetection*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Zirconium*


  • Galectin 3
  • Zirconium