Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Pharmacokinetics: Classical Blood Sampling Versus Image-Derived Analysis of [18F]FAZA and [18F]FDG in a Murine Tumor Bearing Model
Purpose: Pharmacokinetic (PK) data are generally derived from blood samples withdrawn serially over a defined period after dosing. In small animals, blood sampling after dosing presents technical difficulties, particularly when short time intervals and frequent sampling are required. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non-invasive functional imaging technique that can provide semi-quantitative temporal data for defined volume regions of interest (vROI), to support kinetic analyses in blood and other tissues. The application of preclinical small-animal PET to determine and compare PK parameters for [18F]FDG and [18F]FAZA, radiopharmaceuticals used clinically for assessing glucose metabolism and hypoxic fractions, respectively, in the same mammary EMT6 tumor-bearing mouse model, is reported here. Methods: Two study groups were used: normal BALB/c mice under isoflurane anesthesia were intravenously injected with either [18F]FDG or [18F]FAZA. For the first group, blood-sampling by tail artery puncture was used to collect blood samples which were then analyzed with Radio-microTLC. Dynamic PET experiments were performed with the second group of mice and analyzed for blood input function and tumor uptake utilizing a modified two compartment kinetic model. Heart and inferior vena cava vROIs were sampled to obtain image-derived data. PK parameters were calculated from blood samples and image-derived data. Time-activity curves (TACs) were also generated over regions of liver, kidney and urinary bladder to depict clearance profiles for each radiotracer. Results: PK values generated by classical blood sampling and PET image-derived analysis were comparable to each other for both radiotracers. Heart vROI data were suitable for analysis of [18F]FAZA kinetics, but metabolic uptake of radioactivity mandated the use of inferior vena cava vROIs for [18F]FDG analysis. While clearance (CL) and blood half-life (t½) were similar for both [18F]FDG and [18F]FAZA for both sampling methods, volume of distribution yielded larger differences, indicative of limitations such as partial volume effects within quantitative image-derived data. [18F]FDG underwent faster blood clearance and had a shorter blood half-life than [18F]FAZA. Kinetic analysis of tumor uptake from PET image data showed higher uptake and longer tumor tissue retention of [18F]FDG, indicative of the tumor’s glucose metabolism rate, versus lower tumor uptake and retention of [18F]FAZA. While [18F]FAZA possesses a somewhat greater hepatobiliary clearance , [18F]FDG clears faster through the renal system which results in faster radioactivity accumulation in the urinary bladder. Conclusions: The present study provides a working example of the applicability of functional PET imaging as a suitable tool to determine PK parameters in small animals. The comparative analysis in the current study demonstrates that it is feasible to use [18F]FDG PET and [18F]FAZA PET in the same model to analyze their blood PK parameters, and to estimate kinetic parameters for these tracers in tumor. This non-invasive imaging-based determination of tissue kinetic parameters facilitates translation from pre-clinical to clinical phases of drug development.
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