Associations between Normal Organs and Tumor Burden in Patients Imaged with Fibroblast Activation Protein Inhibitor-Directed Positron Emission Tomography

Aleksander Kosmala, Sebastian E. Serfling, Niklas Dreher, Thomas Lindner, Andreas Schirbel, Constantin Lapa, Takahiro Higuchi, Andreas K. Buck, Alexander Weich, Rudolf A. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


(1) Background: We aimed to quantitatively investigate [68 Ga]Ga-FAPI-04 uptake in normal organs and to assess a relationship with the extent of FAPI-avid tumor burden. (2) Methods: In this single-center retrospective analysis, thirty-four patients with solid cancers underwent a total of 40 [68 Ga]Ga-FAPI-04 PET/CT scans. Mean standardized uptake values (SUVmean) for normal organs were established by placing volumes of interest (VOIs) in the heart, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and bone marrow. Total tumor burden was determined by manual segmentation of tumor lesions with increased uptake. For tumor burden, quantitative assessment included maximum SUV (SUVmax), tumor volume (TV), and fractional tumor activity (FTA = TV × SUVmean). Associations between uptake in normal organs and tumor burden were investigated by applying Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. (3) Results: Median SUVmean values were 2.15 in the pancreas (range, 1.05–9.91), 1.42 in the right (range, 0.57–3.06) and 1.41 in the left kidney (range, 0.73–2.97), 1.2 in the heart (range, 0.46–2.59), 0.86 in the spleen (range, 0.55–1.58), 0.65 in the liver (range, 0.31–2.11), and 0.57 in the bone marrow (range, 0.26–0.94). We observed a trend towards significance for uptake in the myocardium and tumor-derived SUVmax (ρ = 0.29, p = 0.07) and TV (ρ = −0.30, p = 0.06). No significant correlation was achieved for any of the other organs: SUVmax (ρ ≤ 0.1, p ≥ 0.42), TV (ρ ≤ 0.11, p ≥ 0.43), and FTA (ρ ≤ 0.14, p ≥ 0.38). In a sub-analysis exclusively investigating patients with high tumor burden, significant correlations of myocardial uptake with tumor SUVmax (ρ = 0.44; p = 0.03) and tumor-derived FTA with liver uptake (ρ = 0.47; p = 0.02) were recorded. (4) Conclusions: In this proof-of-concept study, quantification of [68 Ga]Ga-FAPI-04 PET showed no significant correlation between normal organs and tumor burden, except for a trend in the myocardium. Those preliminary findings may trigger future studies to determine possible implications for treatment with radioactive FAP-targeted drugs, as higher tumor load or uptake may not lead to decreased doses in the majority of normal organs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2609
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • fibroblast activation protein
  • PET
  • radioligand therapy
  • theranostics
  • [ Ga]Ga-FAPI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between Normal Organs and Tumor Burden in Patients Imaged with Fibroblast Activation Protein Inhibitor-Directed Positron Emission Tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this