Amino Acids

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 11–27 | Cite as

Positron emission tomography imaging of prostate cancer

  • Hao Hong
  • Yin Zhang
  • Jiangtao Sun
  • Weibo Cai
Review Article


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Positron emission tomography (PET), a non-invasive, sensitive, and quantitative imaging technique, can facilitate personalized management of PCa patients. There are two critical needs for PET imaging of PCa, early detection of primary lesions and accurate imaging of PCa bone metastasis, the predominant cause of death in PCa. Because the most widely used PET tracer in the clinic, 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-2-d-glucose (18F-FDG), does not meet these needs, a wide variety of PET tracers have been developed for PCa imaging that span an enormous size range from small molecules to intact antibodies. In this review, we will first summarize small-molecule-based PET tracers for PCa imaging, which measure certain biological events, such as cell membrane metabolism, fatty acid synthesis, and receptor expression. Next, we will discuss radiolabeled amino acid derivatives (e.g. methionine, leucine, tryptophan, and cysteine analogs), which are primarily based on the increased amino acid transport of PCa cells. Peptide-based tracers for PET imaging of PCa, mostly based on the bombesin peptide and its derivatives which bind to the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor, will then be presented in detail. We will also cover radiolabeled antibodies and antibody fragments (e.g. diabodies and minibodies) for PET imaging of PCa, targeting integrin αvβ3, EphA2, the epidermal growth factor receptor, or the prostate stem cell antigen. Lastly, we will identify future directions for the development of novel PET tracers for PCa imaging, which may eventually lead to personalized management of PCa patients.


Molecular imaging Prostate cancer Positron emission tomography Peptide Antibody 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Medical Education and Research Committee through the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the UW Carbone Cancer Center, NCRR 1UL1RR025011, and a Susan G. Komen Postdoctoral Fellowship (to H. Hong).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics, School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer CenterMadisonUSA

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