Radiotracer Development for Fungal-Specific Imaging: Past, Present, and Future

J Infect Dis. 2023 Oct 3;228(Suppl 4):S259-S269. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiad067.


Invasive fungal infections have become a major challenge for public health, mainly due to the growing numbers of immunocompromised patients, with high morbidity and mortality. Currently, conventional imaging modalities such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging contribute largely to the noninvasive diagnosis and treatment evaluation of those infections. These techniques, however, often fall short when a fast, noninvasive and specific diagnosis of fungal infection is necessary. Molecular imaging, especially using nuclear medicine-based techniques, aims to develop fungal-specific radiotracers that can be tested in preclinical models and eventually translated to human applications. In the last few decades, multiple radioligands have been developed and tested as potential fungal-specific tracers. These include radiolabeled peptides, antifungal drugs, siderophores, fungal-specific antibodies, and sugars. In this review, we provide an overview of the pros and cons of the available radiotracers. We also address the future prospects of fungal-specific imaging.

Keywords: PET; immunoPET; invasive fungal infection; radionuclide imaging; siderophores.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Invasive Fungal Infections*
  • Mycoses* / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antibodies, Fungal