Head-to-head intra-individual comparison of biodistribution and tumor uptake of 68Ga-FAPI and 18F-FDG PET/CT in cancer patients

Frederik L. Giesel, Clemens Kratochwil, Joel Schlittenhardt, Katharina Dendl, Matthias Eiber, Fabian Staudinger, Lukas Kessler, Wolfgang P. Fendler, Thomas Lindner, Stefan A. Koerber, Jens Cardinale, David Sennung, Manuel Roehrich, Juergen Debus, Mike Sathekge, Uwe Haberkorn, Jeremie Calais, Sebastian Serfling, Andreas L. Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Purpose: FAPI ligands (fibroblast activation protein inhibitor), a novel class of radiotracers for PET/CT imaging, demonstrated in previous studies rapid and high tumor uptake. The purpose of this study is the head-to-head intra-individual comparison of 68Ga-FAPI versus standard-of-care 18F-FDG in PET/CT in organ biodistribution and tumor uptake in patients with various cancers. Material and Methods: This international retrospective multicenter analysis included PET/CT data from 71 patients from 6 centers who underwent both 68Ga-FAPI and 18F-FDG PET/CT within a median time interval of 10 days (range 1–89 days). Volumes of interest (VOIs) were manually drawn in normal organs and tumor lesions to quantify tracer uptake by SUVmax and SUVmean. Furthermore, tumor-to-background ratios (TBR) were generated (SUVmax tumor/ SUVmax organ). Results: A total of 71 patients were studied of, which 28 were female and 43 male (median age 60). In 41 of 71 patients, the primary tumor was present. Forty-three of 71 patients exhibited 162 metastatic lesions. 68Ga-FAPI uptake in primary tumors and metastases was comparable to 18F-FDG in most cases. The SUVmax was significantly lower for 68Ga-FAPI than 18F-FDG in background tissues such as the brain, oral mucosa, myocardium, blood pool, liver, pancreas, and colon. Thus, 68Ga-FAPI TBRs were significantly higher than 18F-FDG TBRs in some sites, including liver and bone metastases. Conclusion: Quantitative tumor uptake is comparable between 68Ga-FAPI and 18F-FDG, but lower background uptake in most normal organs results in equal or higher TBRs for 68Ga-FAPI. Thus, 68Ga-FAPI PET/CT may yield improved diagnostic information in various cancers and especially in tumor locations with high physiological 18F-FDG uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4377-4385
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer-associated fibroblast
  • Various cancer diseases


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