Eur J Nucl Med. 2001 Jun .

Comparison of [18F]FHPG and [124/125I]FIAU for imaging herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase gene expression.

Brust P, Haubner R, Friedrich A, Scheunemann M, Anton M, Koufaki ON, Hauses M, Noll S, Noll B, Haberkorn U, Schackert G, Schackert HK, Avril N, Johannsen B

Various radiotracers based on uracil nucleosides (e.g. [124I]2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil, [124I]FIAU) and acycloguanosine derivatives (e.g. [18F]9-[(3-fluoro-1-hydroxy-2-propoxy) methyl] guanine, [18F]FHPG) have been proposed for the non-invasive imaging of herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) reporter gene expression. However, these radiotracers have been evaluated in different in vitro and in vivo models, precluding a direct comparison. Therefore, we directly compared [18F]FHPG and radioiodinated FIAU to assess their potential for PET imaging of transgene expression. The uptake of [125I]FIAU, [18F]FHPG and [3H]acyclovir was determined in vitro using four different HSV1-tk expressing cell lines and their respective negative controls. The in vitro tracer uptake was generally low in non-transduced parental cell lines. In HSV1-tk expressing cells, [3H]acyclovir showed approximately a twofold higher tracer accumulation, the [18F]FHPG uptake increased by about sixfold and the [125I]FIAU accumulation increased by about 28-fold after 120-min incubation of T1115 human glioblastoma cells. Similar results were found in the other cell lines. In addition, biodistribution and positron emission tomography (PET) studies with [18F]FHPG and [124/125I]FIAU were carried out in tumour-bearing BALB/c mice. Significantly higher specific accumulation of radioactivity was found for [125I]FIAU compared with [18F]FHPG. The ratio of specific tracer accumulation between [125I]FIAU and [18F]FHPG increased from 21 (30 min p.i.) to 119 (4 h p.i.). PET imaging, using [124I]FIAU, clearly visualised and delineated HSV1-tk expressing tumours, whereas only a negligible uptake of [18F]FHPG was observed. This study demonstrated that in vitro and in vivo, the radioiodinated uracil nucleoside FIAU has a significantly higher specific accumulation than the acycloguanosine derivative [18F]FHPG. This suggests that [124I]FIAU should be the preferred reporter probe for PET imaging of HSV1-tk gene expression. Thus, further attempts to develop suitable PET tracers for the assessment of HSV1-tk gene expression should also focus on 18F-labelled uracil derivatives.

PMID: 11440032 [PubMed - in process]