We aimed to elucidate the diagnostic potential of the C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4)-directed positron emission tomography (PET) tracer68Ga-Pentixafor in patients with poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas (NEC), relative to the established reference standard18F-FDG PET/computed tomography (CT). In our database, we retrospectively identified 11 treatment-naïve patients with histologically proven NEC, who underwent18F-FDG and CXCR4-directed PET/CT for staging and therapy planning. The images were analyzed on a per-patient and per-lesion basis and compared to immunohistochemical staining (IHC) of CXCR4 from PET-guided biopsies.68Ga-Pentixafor visualized tumor lesions in 10/11 subjects, while18F-FDG revealed sites of disease in all 11 patients. Although weak to moderate CXCR4 expression could be corroborated by IHC in 10/11 cases,18F-FDG PET/CT detected significantly more tumor lesions (102 vs. 42; total lesions, n = 107; p < 0.001). Semi-quantitative analysis revealed markedly higher18F-FDG uptake as compared to68Ga-Pentixafor (maximum and mean standardized uptake values (SUV) and tumor-to-background ratios (TBR) of cancerous lesions, SUVmax: 12.8 ± 9.8 vs. 5.2 ± 3.7; SUVmean: 7.4 ± 5.4 vs. 3.1 ± 3.2, p < 0.001; and, TBR 7.2 ± 7.9 vs. 3.4 ± 3.0, p < 0.001). Non-invasive imaging of CXCR4 expression in NEC is inferior to the reference standard18F-FDG PET/CT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Biochemistry