Nanotheranostics 2018; 2(3):201-210. doi:10.7150/ntno.24478

Research Paper

Non-invasive Early Response Monitoring of Nanoparticle-assisted Photothermal Cancer Therapy Using 18F-FDG, 18F-FLT, and 18F-FET PET/CT Imaging

Jesper Tranekjær Jørgensen1,*, Kamilla Norregaard1,*, Marina Simón Martín1, Lene Broeng Oddershede2, Andreas Kjaer1✉

1. Cluster for Molecular Imaging, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET, Rigshospitalet and University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
*Contributed equally


Rationale: Since its first implementation nanoparticle-assisted photothermal cancer therapy has been studied extensively, although mainly with focus on optimal nanoparticle design. However, development of efficient treatment protocols, as well as reliable and early evaluation tools in vivo, are needed to push the therapy towards clinical translation. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non-invasive imaging technique that is currently finding extensive use for early evaluation of cancer therapies; an approach that has become of increasing interest due to its great potential for personalized medicine.

Methods: In this study, we performed PET imaging to evaluate the treatment response two days after nanoparticle-assisted photothermal cancer therapy in tumor-bearing mice. We used three different tracers; 2′-deoxy-2′-18F-fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG), 3′-deoxy-3′-18F-fluorothymidine (18F-FLT), and O-(2'-18F-fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine (18F-FET) to image and measure treatment induced changes in glucose uptake, cell proliferation, and amino acid transport, respectively. After therapy, tumor growth was monitored longitudinally until endpoint was reached.

Results: We found that nanoparticle-assisted photothermal therapy overall inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival. All three PET tracers had a significant decrease in tumor uptake two days after therapy and these changes correlated with future tumor growth, with 18F-FDG having the most predictive value in this tumor model.

Conclusion: This study shows that 18F-FDG, 18F-FLT, and 18F-FET are all robust markers for the treatment response of photothermal therapy, and demonstrate that PET imaging can be used for stratification and optimization of the therapy. Furthermore, having a selection of PET tracers that can reliably measure treatment response is highly valuable as the individual tracer might be excluded in certain applications where physiological processes limit their contrast to background.

Keywords: Photothermal therapy, nanoparticles, PET imaging, response monitoring

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How to cite this article:
Jørgensen JT, Norregaard K, Simón Martín M, Oddershede LB, Kjaer A. Non-invasive Early Response Monitoring of Nanoparticle-assisted Photothermal Cancer Therapy Using 18F-FDG, 18F-FLT, and 18F-FET PET/CT Imaging. Nanotheranostics 2018; 2(3):201-210. doi:10.7150/ntno.24478. Available from