Imaging angiogenesis in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas by [68Ga]Ga-DOTA-E-[c(RGDfK)]2 PET/CT

Daphne Lobeek, Mark Rijpkema, Samantha Terry, Janneke D M Molkenboer-Kuenen, Lieke Joosten, Evelien van Genugten, Adriana van Engen-van Grunsven, Johannes Kaanders, Sjoert Pegge, Wim Oyen, Otto Boerman, Willem Weijs, Matthias Merkx, Carla M. L. van Herpen, Robert Takes, Erik Aarntzen

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Purpose: Angiogenesis plays an important role in the growth and metastatic spread of solid tumours and is characterised by the expression of integrins on the cell surface of endothelial cells. Radiolabelled RGD peptides specifically target angiogenesis-related αvβ3 integrins, expressed on the activated endothelial cells of sprouting blood vessels. Here, we investigated the potential of 68Ga[Ga]-DOTA-E-[c(RGDfK)]2 (68Ga-RGD) PET/CT imaging to visualise angiogenesis in patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC).
Methods: Ten patients with OSCC and scheduled for surgical resection including elective neck dissection, received an intravenously administration of 68Ga-RGD (42±8 µg; 214±9 MBq). All patients subsequently underwent dynamic (n=5) or static PET/CT imaging (n=5) for 60 minutes or for 4 min/bed position at 30, 60, and 90 minutes after injection, respectively. Quantitative tracer uptake in tumour lesions was expressed as Standardised Uptake Values (SUV). Additionally, tumour tissue was immunohistochemically stained for αvβ3 integrin to assess the expression pattern.
Results: 68Ga-RGD tumour accumulation was observed in all patients. Tumour SUVmax, measured at 60 minutes post injection, was 7.5±2.6 and correlated positively with tumour volume (R=0.69, P=0.041). Tracer accumulation in tumour tissue plateaued at 10 minutes after injection. Uptake in background tissue did not change over time.
Conclusions: 68Ga-RGD PET/CT imaging of αvβ3 integrin expression in OSCC patients is feasible with adequate tumour-to-background ratios. It will provide more insight in angiogenesis as a hallmark of the head and neck squamous cell carcinomas’ tumour microenvironment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Mar 2020


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