Fluorine-18 labeled PARP inhibitor as a potential alternative to 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose PET in oral cancer imaging

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Paula Demétrio de Souza França , Sheryl Roberts, Susanne Kossatz, Navjot Guru, Christian Mason, Daniella Karassawa Zanoni, Marcio Abrahão, Heiko Schöder, Ian Ganly, Snehal G Patel, Thomas Reiner*

Objectives: The evaluation of disease extent and post-therapy surveillance of head and neck cancer using 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose ([18F]FDG) PET is often complicated by physiological uptake in normal tissues of the head and neck region, especially after surgery or radiotherapy. However, irrespective of low positive predictive values, [18F]FDG PET remains the standard of care to stage the disease and monitor recurrences. Here, we report the preclinical use of a targeted poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase1 (PARP1) binding PET tracer, fluorine-18 labeled poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase1 inhibitor ([18F]PARPi), as a potential alternative with greater specificity.

Methods: Using an orthotopic xenograft mouse model injected with either FaDu or Cal 27 (human squamous cell carcinoma cell lines) we performed PET/CT scans with the 2 tracers and compared the results. Gamma counts and autoradiography were also assessed and correlated with histology.

Results: The average retained activity of [18F]PARPi across cell lines in tumor-bearing tongues was 0.9 ± 0.3%ID/g, 4.1 times higher than in control (0.2 ± 0.04%ID/g). Autoradiography and histology confirmed that the activity arose almost exclusively from the tumor areas, with a signal/normal tissue around a ratio of 42.9 ± 21.4. In vivo, [18F]PARPi-PET allowed delineation of tumor from healthy tissue (p < .005), whereas [18F]FDG failed to do so (p = .209).

Conclusions and implications for patient care: We demonstrate that [18F]PARPi is more specific to tongue tumor tissue than [18F]FDG. [18F]PARPi PET allows for the straightforward delineation of oral cancer in mouse models, suggesting that clinical translation could result in improved imaging of head and neck cancer when compared to [18F]FDG.

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