Radiometals for imaging and theranostics, current production, and future perspectives

J Labelled Comp Radiopharm. 2019 Aug;62(10):615-634. doi: 10.1002/jlcr.3770. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


The aim of this review is to make the reader familiar with currently available radiometals, their production modes, capacities, and quality concerns related to their medical use, as well as new emerging radiometals and irradiation technologies from the perspective of their diagnostic and theranostic applications. Production methods of 177 Lu serve as an example of various issues related to the production yield, specific activity, radionuclidic and chemical purity, and production economy. Other radiometals that are currently used or explored for potential medical applications, with particular focus on their theranostic value, are discussed. Using radiometals for diagnostic imaging and therapy is on the rise. The high demand for radiometals for medical use prompts investigations towards using alternative irradiation reactions, while using existing nuclear reactors and accelerator facilities. This review discusses these production capacities and what is necessary to cover the growing demand for theranostic nuclides.

Keywords: Cu-64/67; Sc-43/44/47; Tb-149/152/155/161; Zr-89; alpha emitters; radiometals for theranostics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Metals / therapeutic use*
  • Radiochemistry / methods*
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*


  • Metals
  • Radioisotopes