Purpose: To develop a hydrophilic ligand to image tumor hypoxia at positron emission tomography (PET).
Materials and methods: Biodistribution of fluorine-18-labeled fluoroerythronitroimidazole (FETNIM) and F-18-labeled fluoromisonidazole (FMISO) was determined at PET and autoradiography in three mammary-tumor-bearing rats. The partition coefficient of FETNIM, FMISO, and misonidazole was determined.
Results: Biodistribution of F-18-labeled FETNIM at 1, 2, and 4 hours showed tumor-to-blood ratios of 2.29 +/- 0.599, 2.41 +/- 0.567 and 8.02 +/- 2.420, respectively, and tumor-to-muscle ratios of 0.66 +/- 0.267, 2.11 +/- 0.347, and 5.92 +/- 2.240, respectively. The tumor-to-blood count density ratio with F-18-labeled FETNIM at 4 hours after injection was significantly higher than with F-18-labeled FMISO. Autoradiographs indicated that both agents could help differentiate hypoxic versus necrotic region in the tumor.
Conclusion: F-18-labeled FETNIM can help detect tumor hypoxia and is easier to prepare, less costly, and more hydrophilic than F-18-labeled FMISO.