Brain tumors: L-[1-C-11]tyrosine PET for visualization and quantification of protein synthesis rate

Radiology. 1995 Oct;197(1):221-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.197.1.7568827.


Purpose: Positron emission tomography (PET) with the amino acid tracer L-[1-C-11]-tyrosine was evaluated in 27 patients with primary and recurrent brain tumors.

Materials and methods: Patients underwent either static (n = 14) or dynamic PET (n = 13), with quantification of protein synthesis rate (PSR) and tumor-to-background ratio. Findings were compared with histologic findings.

Results: Primary brain tumor was proved in 22 patients histologically, as well as metastatic cancer of unknown origin, primary non-Hodgkin lymphoma, meningioma, atypical infarction, and vasculitis in one patient each. At PET, 20 of 22 primary tumors, the metastasis, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were correctly depicted. A false-positive finding was obtained with the infarction, and the meningioma and vasculitis were not depicted. The calculated sensitivity was 92%; specificity, 67%; and accuracy, 89%. There were no statistically significant relationships between histologic findings, PSR, and tumor-to-background ratio.

Conclusion: L-[1-C-11]-tyrosine is a valid tracer for diagnosis of brain tumors and allowed quantification of PSR.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carbon Radioisotopes*
  • Female
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Male
  • Meningioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tyrosine* / metabolism
  • Vasculitis / diagnostic imaging


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tyrosine
  • Methionine