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Robust and Facile Automated Radiosynthesis of [18F]FSPG on the GE FASTlab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Richard Edwards, Hannah E Greenwood, Graeme McRobbie, Imtiaz Khan, Timothy H Witney

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
E-pub ahead of print20 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was funded through a Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (107610/Z/15/Z), the CRUK City of London Centre Award (C7893/A26233), and a CRUK UCL Centre-Non-Clinical Training Award (C416/A23233). As this research was funded in part by the Wellcome Trust and for the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


PURPOSE: (S)-4-(3-18F-Fluoropropyl)-ʟ-Glutamic Acid ([18F]FSPG) is a radiolabeled non-natural amino acid that is used for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the glutamate/cystine antiporter, system xC-, whose expression is upregulated in many cancer types. To increase the clinical adoption of this radiotracer, reliable and facile automated procedures for [18F]FSPG production are required. Here, we report a cassette-based method to produce [18F]FSPG at high radioactivity concentrations from low amounts of starting activity.

PROCEDURES: An automated synthesis and purification of [18F]FSPG was developed using the GE FASTlab. Optimization of the reaction conditions and automated manipulations were performed by measuring the isolated radiochemical yield of [18F]FSPG and by assessing radiochemical purity using radio-HPLC. Purification of [18F]FSPG was conducted by trapping and washing of the radiotracer on Oasis MCX SPE cartridges, followed by a reverse elution of [18F]FSPG in phosphate-buffered saline. Subsequently, the [18F]FSPG obtained from the optimized process was used to image an animal model of non-small cell lung cancer.

RESULTS: The optimized protocol produced [18F]FSPG in 38.4 ± 2.6 % radiochemical yield and >96 % radiochemical purity with a molar activity of 11.1 ± 7.7 GBq/μmol. Small alterations, including the implementation of a reverse elution and an altered Hypercarb cartridge, led to significant improvements in radiotracer concentration from <10 MBq/ml to >100 MBq/ml. The improved radiotracer concentration allowed for the imaging of up to 20 mice, starting with just 1.5 GBq of [18F]Fluoride.

CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a robust and facile method for [18F]FSPG radiosynthesis in high radiotracer concentration, radiochemical yield, and radiochemical purity. This cassette-based method enabled the production of [18F]FSPG at radioactive concentrations sufficient to facilitate large-scale preclinical experiments with a single prep of starting activity. The use of a cassette-based radiosynthesis on an automated synthesis module routinely used for clinical production makes the method amenable to rapid and widespread clinical translation.

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