This was the first-in-humans clinical study of 18F-fludarabine, which is a radiopharmaceutical for PET imaging in lymphoma, for which many issues remain controversial with the standard radiotracer 18F-FDG. Methods:18F-fludarabine PET or PET/CT was performed on 10 patients: 5 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and 5 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The tumor uptake, biodistribution, and radiation dosimetry of 18F-fludarabine were evaluated. Six successive partial-body PET scans were acquired for 250 min after an intravenous 4 MBq/kg bolus of 18F-fludarabine. SUVs were recorded for each involved lymph node territory and for several extranodal sites, with particular reference to the liver. To assess the time-related uptake profile of 18F-fludarabine, PET images were analyzed by delineating volumes of interest over the uptake sites on the optimal scan for visual observation and were projected onto all coregistered scans of the same subject. Physical examination, laboratory studies, and contrast-enhanced CT were performed on all patients. For the DLBCL group, 18F-FDG PET was also considered. Results: In DLBCL patients, increased 18F-fludarabine uptake was observed in sites considered abnormal by CT or 18F-FDG, with SUVs significantly higher in involved lesions than in physiologic nontarget sites. Nonetheless, the comparison of 18F-fludarabine and 18F-FDG PET showed discrepancies in 2 patients. In chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, the uptake of 18F-fludarabine coincided with sites expected to be involved (including splenic invasion) according to conventional clinical and CT staging and was significant in hematopoietic bone marrow. No uptake was observed, whatever the disease group, in cardiac muscle or brain. The mean effective dose from a mean injected 18F-fludarabine activity of 305 ± 76 MBq was 3.07 ± 0.81 mSv. Conclusion:18F-fludarabine PET might well be a promising tool for lymphoproliferative diseases. The radiation dose of this radiopharmaceutical is below that of 18F-FDG. The specificity of this PET probe for lymphoid cells, its absence of accumulation in reactive tissues, and its feasibility for detection of bone marrow infiltration might play an innovative role in lymphoma imaging.
Keywords: 18F-fludarabine; first-in-humans; lymphoma; molecular imaging; positron emission tomography.
© 2018 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.