Designing steroid receptor-based radiotracers to image breast and prostate tumors

J Nucl Med. 1995 Jun;36(6 Suppl):8S-13S.


Imaging of breast or prostate cancers based on their content of steroid receptors poses a major challenge in the design of radiotracers. Receptors for steroid hormones are proteins that interact at specific sites in chromatin. Several analogs of estrogens, progestins and androgens have been radiolabeled and evaluated both in vitro and in vivo for receptor binding affinity and selectivity. Breast tumors in patients have been imaged with [18F]fluoroestradiol. Scintigraphic images with radiolabeled progestin analogs may be useful for monitoring the efficacy of tamoxifen treatment in breast cancer patients. Tissue distribution and imaging studies in animals with fluorine-substituted androgens indicate that it may be possible to develop a steroid receptor-based radiotracer for staging prostate cancer. Radiochemists are reporting some progress in labeling steroid receptor ligands with 99mTc. By using the techniques of molecular nuclear medicine, new imaging procedures could be developed that might provide more precise information to help characterize disease and effect treatment decisions in patients with breast or prostate cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radioisotopes*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Receptors, Androgen / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Receptors, Steroid / analysis*
  • Receptors, Steroid / chemistry


  • Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptors, Steroid