News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | August 16, 2017

Study Demonstrates First Human Application of Novel PET Tracer for Prostate Cancer

New tracer holds promise of monitoring targeted treatment of various cancers

Study Demonstrates First Human Application of Novel PET Tracer for Prostate Cancer

Transaxial 11Csarcosine hybrid PET/CT showed a (triangulated) adenocarcinoma in the transition zone of the anterior right prostate gland on PET (A), CT (B), and a separately obtained T2?weighted MR sequence (C) with resulting PET/MRI registration (D). Image courtesy of M. Piert et al., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

August 16, 2017 — In the featured translational article in the August issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers at the University of Michigan demonstrate the potential of a new positron emission tomography (PET) tracer, Carbon-11 labeled sarcosine (11C-sarcosine), for imaging prostate cancer. The article also sets the stage for its possible use in monitoring other cancers.

The study compared the effectiveness of the new tracer with 11C-choline (already widely used for imaging prostate cancer) in two mouse models and also performed the first PET/CT (computed tomography) scan with 11C-sarcosine of a human with prostate cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the second most deadly cancer among men. Sarcosine plays an important role in its aggressiveness and progression. Sarcosine enters cells via proton-coupled amino acid transporters (PAT), which are overexpressed in selected tissues and solid tumors — making it an excellent imaging target.

"Given the link between 11C-sarcosine cell uptake and PAT transport, the study provides first evidence that PAT expression can be elevated in prostate cancer," explained Morand Piert, M.D., professor of radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Study results showed that in preclinical models tumor-to-background ratios obtained from 11C-sarcosine PET were significantly elevated compared to 11C-choline. 11C-sarcosine also produced high-contrast images in a human prostate cancer case. Independent target metabolite analyses revealed significant increases of sarcosine, glycine and choline tissue levels from benign prostate tissue to localized prostate cancer and subsequently metastatic disease. The data suggest that 11C-sarcosine is a viable tracer for prostate cancer imaging, with potential benefits over 11C-choline.

Piert noted that 11C-sarcosine could also be an important tracer for identifying and characterizing other cancers. He explained, "To our knowledge, this is the first radiotracer to interrogate the activity of PATs, which play a role as multi-purpose carriers with distinct roles in different cells. In the brain, these transporters are involved in the neuronal amino acid transport. In the intestinal tract, certain PATs play a role as nutrient and drug transporter."

Piert added, "Furthermore, PAT expression increases with cell proliferation. In cancer, PAT function has been related to the amino acid-sensing engine that drives activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), which is an important target for existing and new anti-cancer drugs."

While further studies are needed for clinical validation, he said, "Based on the known metabolism of sarcosine in cancer, we postulate that elevated 11C-sarcosine uptake is a negative prognostic marker and may potentially be useful to monitor mTORC1-targeted cancer treatments."

For more information: www.jnm.snmjournals.org

Related Content

Trends in Overall Cancer Mortality Rates by Sex, United States, 1930 to 2017. Rates are age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population

Trends in Overall Cancer Mortality Rates by Sex, United States, 1930 to 2017. Rates are age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population. Chart courtesy of the American Cancer Society

News | Radiation Oncology | January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020 — The cancer death rate declined
Professor Samer Ezziddin, M.D., from Saarland University/Saarland University Hospital.

Professor Samer Ezziddin, M.D., from Saarland University/Saarland University Hospital. Image courtesy of Saarland University/Thorsten Mohr

 

News | Prostate Cancer | January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020 — When a non-scientist tries to imagine a scientist, the image that often arises is one of a somewha
prostate cancer UCL study
News | Prostate Cancer | January 03, 2020
January 3, 2020 — Nearly one in six deaths from...
Feinstein Institutes' Thomas Chaly, Ph.D., poses in front of a PET-CT imaging machine. He has been instrumental in pushing for FDA approval of a new PET imaging agent, Fluorodopa F-18 (FDOPA), to combat Parkinson’s

Feinstein Institutes' Thomas Chaly, Ph.D., in front of a PET-CT imaging machine. He has been instrumental in pushing for FDA approval of a new PET imaging agent, Fluorodopa F-18 (FDOPA), to combat Parkinson’s

News | Nuclear Imaging | December 26, 2019
December 26, 2019 — The Feinstein Institutes for Medical R...
Ferrotran (formerly Combidex), based on Ferumoxtran-10, is the only contrast agent which can detect lymph node metastases as small as 2 mm diameter

Ferrotran (formerly Combidex), based on Ferumoxtran-10, is the only contrast agent which can detect lymph node metastases as small as 2 mm diameter. Standard MRI or CT are not able to detect lymph node metastases smaller than 7 – 8 mm. Since most of the oncologic patients are dying due to metastases, a precise diagnostic is of utmost importance. The detection of small metastases, combined with the very clear and contrast rich MRI image of Ferrotran, enables an earlier and more precise treatment. Therefore, Ferrotran gives the patient a much higher chance of recovery.

News | Prostate Cancer | December 24, 2019
December 24, 2019 — SPL Medical announced today that the first patient has been successfully diagnosed with suspected
Prof. Dr. Samer Ezziddin from Saarland University/Saarland University Hospital.

Prof. Dr. Samer Ezziddin from Saarland University/Saarland University Hospital. Photo courtesy of Thorsten Mohr/Saarland University

News | Prostate Cancer | November 28, 2019
November 28, 2019 — Reports of new cancer treatments
 Prostate cancer MRI
News | Clinical Trials | November 15, 2019
November 15, 2019 — Theragnostics, which is developing innovative radiopharm