The aim of this study was development of an improved PET radiotracer for measuring xC - activity with increased tumor uptake and reduced uptake in inflammatory cells compared with (S)-4-(3-18F-fluoropropyl)-l-glutamate (18F-FSPG). Methods: A racemic glutamate derivative, 18F-hGTS13, was evaluated in cell culture and animal tumor models. 18F-hGTS13 was separated into C5 epimers, and the corresponding 18F-hGTS13-isomer1 and 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 were evaluated in H460 tumor-bearing rats. Preliminary studies investigated the cellular uptake of 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 in multiple immune cell populations and states. Results: 18F-hGTS13 demonstrated excellent H460 tumor visualization with high tumor-to-background ratios, confirmed by ex vivo biodistribution studies. Tumor-associated radioactivity was significantly higher for 18F-hGTS13 (7.5 ± 0.9 percentage injected dose [%ID]/g, n = 3) than for 18F-FSPG (4.6 ± 0.7 %ID/g, n = 3, P = 0.01). 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited excellent H460 tumor visualization (6.3 ± 1.1 %ID/g, n = 3) and significantly reduced uptake in multiple immune cell populations relative to 18F-FSPG. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 exhibited increased liver uptake relative to 18F-FSPG (4.6 ± 0.8 vs. 0.7 ± 0.01 %ID/g), limiting its application in hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusion: 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 is a new PET radiotracer for molecular imaging of xC - activity that may provide information on tumor oxidation states. 18F-hGTS13-isomer2 has potential for clinical translation for imaging cancers of the thorax because of the low background signal in healthy tissue.
Keywords: 18F-hGTS13; PET imaging; cancer metabolism; oxidative stress; xC− transporter.
© 2019 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.