Receptor scintigraphy gains more interest for diagnosis and treatment of tumors, in particular for neuroendocrine tumors (NET). We used a pan-Bombesin analog, the peptide DOTA-PEG2-[D-tyr6, β-Ala11, Thi13, Nle14] BN(6-14) amide (BZH3). BZH3 binds to at least three receptor subtypes: the BB1 (Neuromedin B), BB2 (Gastrin-releasing peptide, GRP), and BB3. Imaging of ανβ3 integrin expression playing an important role in angiogenesis and metastasis was accomplished with a 68Ga-RGD tetramer. The purpose of this study was to investigate the kinetics and to compare both tracers in an experimental NET cell line.
This study comprised nine nude rats inoculated with the pancreatic tumor cell line AR42J. Dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) scans using 68Ga-BZH3 and 68Ga-RGD tetramer were performed (68Ga-RGD tetramer: n = 4, 68Ga-BZH3: n = 5). Standardized uptake values (SUVs) were calculated, and a two-tissue compartmental learning-machine model (calculation of K1 - k4 vessel density (VB) and receptor binding potential (RBP)) as well as a non-compartmental model based on the fractal dimension was used for quantitative analysis of both tracers. Multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the kinetic data.
The PET kinetic parameters showed significant differences when individual parameters were compared between groups. Significant differences were found in FD, VB, K1, and RBP (p = 0.0275, 0.05, 0.05, and 0.0275 respectively). The 56- to 60-min SUV for 68Ga-BZH3, with a range of 0.86 to 1.29 (median, 1.19) was higher than the corresponding value for the 68Ga-RGD tetramer, with a range of 0.78 to 1.31 (median, 0.99). Furthermore, FD, VB, K1, and RBP for 68Ga-BZH3 were generally higher than the corresponding values for the 68Ga-RGD tetramer, whereas k3 was slightly higher for 68Ga-RGD tetramer.
As a parameter that reflects receptor binding, the increase of K1 for 68Ga-BZH3 indicated higher expression of bombesin receptors than that of the ανβ3 integrin in neuroendocrine tumors. 68Ga-BZH3 seems better suited for diagnosis of NETs owing to higher global tracer uptake.