True tracers: Comparing FDG with glucose and FLT with thymidine

Kenneth A. Krohn, David A. Mankoff, Mark Muzi, Jeanne M. Link, Alexander M. Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


As PET metabolic imaging becomes routine in clinical practice, there is a tendency to make imaging and data analysis fast and simple, but interpretation of these pictures by visual inspection does not do justice to the power of PET technology. Tissue data and blood data can be analyzed mathematically to provide parametric images of the PET tracer's biochemistry in terms of a transport parameter and a metabolic flux. The methods for parametric imaging with 11C tracers of glucose and thymidine have been validated, but the short half-life of this radionuclide and the rapid metabolism of these labeled substrates to [11C]CO2 have led investigators to develop 18F analogs. While 18F substitution at critical positions in the natural substrate can block metabolism, it has other effects on the transport and metabolism of the analog tracer. The fidelity with which analog tracers mimic tracers of the authentic substrate is critically evaluated for [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose and [18F]-3′-fluoro- 3′-deoxythymidine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • FDG
  • FLT
  • Glucose
  • Lumped constant
  • Metabolism
  • Thymidine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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