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1.  Copper-64 Dichloride as Theranostic Agent for Glioblastoma Multiforme: A Preclinical Study 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:129764.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults with a median survival time less than one year. To date, there are only a limited number of effective agents available for GBM therapy and this does not seem to add much survival advantage over the conventional approach based on surgery and radiotherapy. Therefore, the development of novel therapeutic approaches to GBM is essential and those based on radionuclide therapy could be of significant clinical impact. Experimental evidence has clearly demonstrated that cancer cells have a particularly high fractional content of copper inside the nucleus compared to normal cells. This behavior can be conveniently exploited both for diagnosis and for delivering therapeutic payloads (theranostic) of the radionuclide copper-64 into the nucleus of cancerous cells by intravenous administration of its simplest chemical form as dichloride salt [64Cu]CuCl2. To evaluate the potential theranostic role of [64Cu]CuCl2 in GBM, the present work reports results from a preclinical study carried out in a xenografted GBM tumor mouse model. Biodistribution data of this new agent were collected using a small-animal PET tomograph. Subsequently, groups of tumor implanted nude mice were treated with [64Cu]CuCl2 to simulate single- and multiple-dose therapy protocols, and results were analyzed to estimate therapeutic efficacy.
PMCID: PMC4663283  PMID: 26649294
2.  18F-FDG PET/CT Role in Staging of Gastric Carcinomas: Comparison with Conventional Contrast Enhancement Computed Tomography 
Medicine  2015;94(20):e864.
The purpose of the report was to evaluate the role of fluorine-18 fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) in staging gastric cancer comparing it with contrast enhancement computed tomography (CECT).
This retrospective study included 45 patients who underwent performed whole body CECT and 18F-FDG PET/CT before any treatment. We calculated CECT and 18F-FDG PET/CT sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) for gastric, lymphnode, and distant localizations; furthermore, we compared the 2 techniques by McNemar test. The role of 18F-FDG PET/CT semiquantitative parameters in relation to histotype, grading, and site of gastric lesions were evaluated by ANOVA test.
Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV of CECT, and 18F-FDG PET/CT for gastric lesion were, respectively, 92.11%, 57.14%, 86.66%, 92.11%, 57.14% and 81.58%, 85.71%, 82.22%, 96.88%, 46.15%. No differences were identified between the 2 techniques about sensitivity and specificity. No statistical differences were observed between PET parameters and histotype, grading, and site of gastric lesion. The results of CECT and 18F-FDG PET/CT about lymphnode involvement were 70.83%, 61.90%, 66.66%, 68%, 65% and 58.33%, 95.24%, 75.55%, 93.33%, 66.67%. The results of CECT and 18F-FDG PET/CT about distant metastases were 80%, 62.86%, 66.66%, 38.10%, 91.67% and 60%, 88.57%, 82.22%, 60%, 88.57%. 18FDG PET/CT specificity was significantly higher both for lymphnode and distant metastases.
The 18F-FDG PET/CT is a useful tool for the evaluation of gastric carcinoma to detect primary lesion, lymphnode, and distant metastases using 1 single image whole-body technique. Integration of CECT with 18F-FDG PET/CT permits a more valid staging in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4602890  PMID: 25997066
3.  124Iodine: A Longer-Life Positron Emitter Isotope—New Opportunities in Molecular Imaging 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:672094.
124Iodine (124I) with its 4.2 d half-life is particularly attractive for in vivo detection and quantification of longer-term biological and physiological processes; the long half-life of 124I is especially suited for prolonged time in vivo studies of high molecular weight compounds uptake. Numerous small molecules and larger compounds like proteins and antibodies have been successfully labeled with 124I. Advances in radionuclide production allow the effective availability of sufficient quantities of 124I on small biomedical cyclotrons for molecular imaging purposes. Radioiodination chemistry with 124I relies on well-established radioiodine labeling methods, which consists mainly in nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution reactions. The physical characteristics of 124I permit taking advantages of the higher PET image quality. The availability of new molecules that may be targeted with 124I represents one of the more interesting reasons for the attention in nuclear medicine. We aim to discuss all iodine radioisotopes application focusing on 124I, which seems to be the most promising for its half-life, radiation emissions, and stability, allowing several applications in oncological and nononcological fields.
PMCID: PMC4034399  PMID: 24895600
4.  The Copper Radioisotopes: A Systematic Review with Special Interest to 64Cu 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:786463.
Copper (Cu) is an important trace element in humans; it plays a role as a cofactor for numerous enzymes and other proteins crucial for respiration, iron transport, metabolism, cell growth, and hemostasis. Natural copper comprises two stable isotopes, 63Cu and 65Cu, and 5 principal radioisotopes for molecular imaging applications (60Cu, 61Cu, 62Cu, and 64Cu) and in vivo targeted radiation therapy (64Cu and 67Cu). The two potential ways to produce Cu radioisotopes concern the use of the cyclotron or the reactor. A noncopper target is used to produce noncarrier-added Cu thanks to a chemical separation from the target material using ion exchange chromatography achieving a high amount of radioactivity with the lowest possible amount of nonradioactive isotopes. In recent years, Cu isotopes have been linked to antibodies, proteins, peptides, and nanoparticles for preclinical and clinical research; pathological conditions that influence Cu metabolism such as Menkes syndrome, Wilson disease, inflammation, tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis, and drug resistance have been studied. We aim to discuss all Cu radioisotopes application focusing on 64Cu and in particular its form 64CuCl2 that seems to be the most promising for its half-life, radiation emissions, and stability with chelators, allowing several applications in oncological and nononcological fields.
PMCID: PMC4033511  PMID: 24895611
5.  Prospective Analysis of 18F-FDG PET/CT Predictive Value in Patients with Low Rectal Cancer Treated with Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy and Conservative Surgery 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:952843.
This study prospectively assessed 18F-FDG PET/CT in predicting the response of locally advanced low rectal cancer (LRC) to neoadjuvant chemoradiation (nCRT). Methods. 56 patients treated with chemoradiation underwent two 18F-FDG PET/CT scans (baseline and 5-6 weeks post-nCRT). 18F-FDG uptake (SUVmax and SUVmean) and differences between baseline (SUV1) and post-nCRT (SUV2) scans (ΔSUV and RI%) were evaluated. Results were related to the Mandard's TRG and (y)pTNM. Results. 18F-FDG PET/CT sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV resulted in 88.6%, 66.7%, 83.92%, 90.7%, and 61.5%. SUV2 resulted in better than SUV1 to predict nCRT response by TRG, with no significant statistical difference between the SUVmax2 and SUVmean2 AUC (0.737 versus 0.736; P = 0.928). The same applies to the (y)pTNM (0.798 versus 0.782; P = 0.192). In relation to the TRG, RI values had a higher AUC than ΔSUV, with no significant difference between RImax and RImean (0.672 versus 0.695; P = 0.292). The same applied to the (y)pTNM (0.742 versus 0.741; P = 0.940). In both cases ΔSUV does not appear to be a good predictive tool. Logistic regression confirmed the better predictive role of SUVmax2 for the (y)pTNM (odds ratio = 1.58) and SUVmean2 for the TRG (odds ratio = 1.87). Conclusions. 18F-FDG PET/CT can evaluate response to nCRT in LRC, even if more studies are required to define the most significant parameter for predicting pathologic tumor changes.
PMCID: PMC4024401  PMID: 24877151
6.  DRD2 Genotype-Based Variation of Default Mode Network Activity and of Its Relationship With Striatal DAT Binding 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2011;39(1):206-216.
The default mode network (DMN) comprises a set of brain regions with “increased” activity during rest relative to cognitive processing. Activity in the DMN is associated with functional connections with the striatum and dopamine (DA) levels in this brain region. A functional single-nucleotide polymorphism within the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560 G > T) shifts splicing of the 2 D2 isoforms, D2 short and D2 long, and has been associated with striatal DA signaling as well as with cognitive processing. However, the effects of this polymorphism on DMN have not been explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of rs1076560 on DMN and striatal connectivity and on their relationship with striatal DA signaling. Twenty-eight subjects genotyped for rs1076560 underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a working memory task and 123 55 I-Fluoropropyl-2-beta-carbomethoxy-3-beta(4-iodophenyl) nortropan Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography ([123I]-FP-CIT SPECT) imaging (a measure of dopamine transporter [DAT] binding). Spatial group-independent component (IC) analysis was used to identify DMN and striatal ICs. Within the anterior DMN IC, GG subjects had relatively greater connectivity in medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), which was directly correlated with striatal DAT binding. Within the posterior DMN IC, GG subjects had reduced connectivity in posterior cingulate relative to T carriers. Additionally, rs1076560 genotype predicted connectivity differences within a striatal network, and these changes were correlated with connectivity in MPFC and posterior cingulate within the DMN. These results suggest that genetically determined D2 receptor signaling is associated with DMN connectivity and that these changes are correlated with striatal function and presynaptic DA signaling.
PMCID: PMC3523900  PMID: 21976709
DRD2; dopamine; default mode network; functional magnetic resonance imaging; single-photon emission computerized tomography
7.  Prefronto-striatal physiology is associated with schizotypy and is modulated by a functional variant of DRD2 
“Schizotypy” is a latent organization of personality related to the genetic risk for schizophrenia. Some evidence suggests that schizophrenia and schizotypy share some biological features, including a link to dopaminergic D2 receptor signaling. A polymorphism in the D2 gene (DRD2 rs1076560, guanine > thymine (G > T)) has been associated with the D2 short/long isoform expression ratio, as well as striatal dopamine signaling and prefrontal cortical activity during different cognitive operations, which are measures that are altered in patients with schizophrenia. Our aim is to determine the association of schizotypy scores with the DRD2 rs1076560 genotype in healthy individuals and their interaction with prefrontal activity during attention and D2 striatal signaling. A total of 83 healthy subjects were genotyped for DRD2 rs1076560 and completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Twenty-six participants underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM D2 receptor radiotracer, while 68 performed an attentional control task during fMRI. We found that rs1076560 GT subjects had greater SPQ scores than GG individuals. Moreover, the interaction between schizotypy and the GT genotype predicted prefrontal activity and related attentional behavior, as well as striatal binding of IBZM. No interaction was found in GG individuals. These results suggest that rs1076560 GT healthy individuals are prone to higher levels of schizotypy, and that the interaction between rs1076560 and schizotypy scores modulates phenotypes related to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, such as prefrontal activity and striatal dopamine signaling. These results provide systems-level qualitative evidence for mapping the construct of schizotypy in healthy individuals onto the schizophrenia continuum.
PMCID: PMC4089730  PMID: 25071490
schizotypy; dopamine; DRD2; fMRI; SPECT
8.  18F-FDG Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography in the Diagnosis and Post-Therapeutic Treatment in a Patient with an Early Stage of Retroperitoneal Fibrosis 
Here, we report an experience about 18F-FDG-PET/CT in a patient with an early stage of Idiopathic Retroperitoneal Fibrosis (IRF). At the diagnosis Contrast Enhanced Computed Tomography (CE-CT) revealed periaortic solid tissue in the infrarenal section and locoregional lymph nodes; findings were interpreted as lymphomatous tissue. 18F-FDG-PET/CT showed elevated 18F-FDG uptake in the periaortic tissue but no uptake was detected in lymph nodes. The histologic examination showed recent-onset IRF. The patient began corticosteroid therapy. Nearly at the end of the therapy, CE-CT showed the enlargement of the fibrous tissue and 18F-FDG-PET/CT showed an increased 18F-FDG uptake in the aforesaid lesion and another area of uptake in the aortic wall. 18F-FDG-PET/CT can play an important role in the diagnosis of patients with an initial clinical suspicion of retroperitoneal fibrosis and in their management. Then the patient began a therapy with methotrexate and after six months we performed an 18F-FDG-PET/CT which didn’t show 18F-FDG uptake.
Conflict of interest:None declared.
PMCID: PMC3759311  PMID: 24003399
18F-FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography; contrast enhancement computed tomography; idiopathic retroperitoneal fibrosis
9.  Cardiovascular risk evaluation and prevalence of silent myocardial ischemia in subjects with asymptomatic carotid artery disease 
Silent ischemia is an asymptomatic form of myocardial ischemia, not associated with angina or anginal equivalent symptoms, which can be demonstrated by changes in ECG, left ventricular function, myocardial perfusion, and metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of silent myocardial ischemia in a group of patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis.
A total of 37 patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques, without chest pain or dyspnea, was investigated. These patients were studied for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and family history of cardiac disease, and underwent technetium-99 m sestamibi myocardial stress-rest scintigraphy and echo-color Doppler examination of carotid arteries.
A statistically significant relationship (P = 0.023) was shown between positive responders and negative responders to scintigraphy test when both were tested for degree of stenosis. This relationship is surprising in view of the small number of patients in our sample. Individuals who had a positive scintigraphy test had a mean stenosis degree of 35% ± 7% compared with a mean of 44% ± 13% for those with a negative test. Specificity of our detection was 81%, with positive and negative predictive values of 60% and 63%, respectively.
The present study confirms that carotid atherosclerosis is associated with coronary atherosclerosis and highlights the importance of screening for ischemic heart disease in patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques, considering eventually plaque morphology (symmetry, composition, eccentricity or concentricity of the plaque, etc) for patient stratification.
PMCID: PMC3064453  PMID: 21468172
asymptomatic carotid artery disease; silent myocardial ischemia; myocardial stress scintigraphy
10.  Genetically Determined Measures of Striatal D2 Signaling Predict Prefrontal Activity during Working Memory Performance 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9348.
Variation of the gene coding for D2 receptors (DRD2) has been associated with risk for schizophrenia and with working memory deficits. A functional intronic SNP (rs1076560) predicts relative expression of the two D2 receptors isoforms, D2S (mainly pre-synaptic) and D2L (mainly post-synaptic). However, the effect of functional genetic variation of DRD2 on striatal dopamine D2 signaling and on its correlation with prefrontal activity during working memory in humans is not known.
Thirty-seven healthy subjects were genotyped for rs1076560 (G>T) and underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM (which binds primarily to post-synaptic D2 receptors) and with [123I]FP-CIT (which binds to pre-synaptic dopamine transporters, whose activity and density is also regulated by pre-synaptic D2 receptors), as well as BOLD fMRI during N-Back working memory.
Subjects carrying the T allele (previously associated with reduced D2S expression) had striatal reductions of [123I]IBZM and of [123I]FP-CIT binding. DRD2 genotype also differentially predicted the correlation between striatal dopamine D2 signaling (as identified with factor analysis of the two radiotracers) and activity of the prefrontal cortex during working memory as measured with BOLD fMRI, which was positive in GG subjects and negative in GT.
Our results demonstrate that this functional SNP within DRD2 predicts striatal binding of the two radiotracers to dopamine transporters and D2 receptors as well as the correlation between striatal D2 signaling with prefrontal cortex activity during performance of a working memory task. These data are consistent with the possibility that the balance of excitatory/inhibitory modulation of striatal neurons may also affect striatal outputs in relationship with prefrontal activity during working memory performance within the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical pathway.
PMCID: PMC2825256  PMID: 20179754

Results 1-10 (10)