King's College London

Research portal

[18F]tetrafluoroborate-PET/CT enables sensitive tumor and metastasis in vivo imaging in a sodium iodide symporter-expressing tumor model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number946
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date19 Apr 2017
Accepted/In press17 Mar 2017
E-pub ahead of print19 Apr 2017
Published19 Apr 2017


King's Authors


Cancer cell metastasis is responsible for most cancer deaths. Non-invasive in vivo cancer cell tracking in spontaneously metastasizing tumor models still poses a challenge requiring highest sensitivity and excellent contrast. The goal of this study was to evaluate if the recently introduced PET radiotracer [18F]tetrafluoroborate ([18F]BF4-) is useful for sensitive and specific metastasis detection in an orthotopic xenograft breast cancer model expressing the human sodium iodide symporter (NIS) as a reporter. In vivo imaging was complemented by ex vivo fluorescence microscopy and γ-counting of harvested tissues. Radionuclide imaging with [18F]BF4- (PET/CT) was compared to the conventional tracer [123I]iodide (sequential SPECT/CT). We found that [18F]BF4- was superior due to better pharmacokinetics, i.e. faster tumor uptake and faster and more complete clearance from circulation. [18F]BF4--PET was also highly specific as in all detected tissues cancer cell presence was confirmed microscopically. Undetected comparable tissues were similarly found to be free of metastasis. Metastasis detection by routine metabolic imaging with [18F]FDG-PET failed due to low standard uptake values and low contrast caused by adjacent metabolically active organs in this model. [18F]BF4--PET combined with NIS expressing disease models is particularly useful whenever preclinical in vivo cell tracking is of interest.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454