Radiosynthesis and Preclinical Evaluation of m-[18F]FET and [18F]FET-OMe as Novel [18F]FET Analogs for Brain Tumor Imaging

Mol Pharm. 2024 May 15. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.3c01215. Online ahead of print.


O-([18F]Fluoroethyl)-l-tyrosine ([18F]FET) is actively transported into the brain and cancer cells by LAT1 and possibly other amino acid transporters, which enables brain tumor imaging by positron emission tomography (PET). However, tumor delivery of this probe in the presence of competing amino acids may be limited by a relatively low affinity for LAT1. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the meta-substituted [18F]FET analog m-[18F]FET and the methyl ester [18F]FET-OMe, which were designed to improve tumor delivery by altering the physicochemical, pharmacokinetic, and/or transport properties. Both tracers could be prepared with good radiochemical yields of 41-56% within 66-90 min. Preclinical evaluation with [18F]FET as a reference tracer demonstrated reduced in vitro uptake of [18F]FET-OMe by U87 glioblastoma cells and no advantage for in vivo tumor imaging. In contrast, m-[18F]FET showed significantly improved in vitro uptake and accelerated in vivo tumor accumulation in an orthotopic glioblastoma model. As such, our work identifies m-[18F]FET as a promising alternative to [18F]FET for brain tumor imaging that deserves further evaluation with regard to its transport properties and in vivo biodistribution.

Keywords: [18F]FET; brain tumor imaging; fluorine-18; positron emission tomography; radiopharmaceuticals.