Tumor Characterization by [68Ga]FAPI-46 PET/CT Can Improve Treatment Selection for Pancreatic Cancer Patients: An Interim Analysis of a Prospective Clinical Trial

J Nucl Med. 2023 Aug;64(8):1232-1237. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.123.265481. Epub 2023 Jun 22.


Correct and timely diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (PC) is essential for treatment selection but is still clinically challenging. Standard-of-care imaging methods can sometimes not differentiate malignancies from inflammatory lesions or detect malignant transformation in premalignant lesions. This interim analysis of a prospective clinical trial aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of [68Ga]fibroblast activation protein inhibitor (FAPI)-46 PET/CT for PC and determine the sample size needed to demonstrate whether this imaging technique improves the characterization of equivocal lesions detected by standard-of-care imaging methods. Methods: [68Ga]FAPI-46 PET/CT imaging was performed on 30 patients scheduled for surgical resection of suspected PC. Target lesions were delineated, SUVmax and SUVmean were determined, and the results were compared with those of standard-of-care imaging. Receiver operating characteristics were calculated for the whole cohort and a subcohort of 11 patients with an equivocal clinical imaging work-up preoperatively. Postoperative histopathologic findings served as a reference standard, and the statistical power was determined. Results: Histopathologic examination revealed malignancy in 20 patients and benign lesions in 10 patients. Significantly elevated [68Ga]FAPI-46 uptake was observed in malignant tumors compared with benign lesions (P < 0.001). Receiver-operating-characteristic analyses established optimal cutoffs for both SUVs for differentiation of malignant from nonmalignant pancreatic tumors. The optimal SUVmax cutoff was 10.2 and showed 95% sensitivity and 80% specificity for the whole cohort, as well as 100% diagnostic accuracy when considering the subcohort with equivocal imaging work-up only. For sufficient statistical power, 38 equivocal observations are needed. Conclusion: We conclude that [68Ga]FAPI-46 PET/CT can accurately differentiate malignant from benign pancreatic lesions deemed equivocal by standard-of-care imaging. This trial will therefore continue to recruit a total of 120 patients to reach those 38 equivocal observations needed for sufficient statistical power. On the basis of our findings, we propose that [68Ga]FAPI-46 PET/CT not only can be clinically applied as a complement but also could become a necessary tool when standard-of-care imaging is inconclusive.

Keywords: 68Ga-FAPI-46; PET/CT; fibroblast activation protein; pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quinolines*


  • Gallium Radioisotopes
  • FAPI-46
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Quinolines