[68Ga]Pentixafor-PET/CT for imaging of chemokine receptor 4 expression in small cell lung cancer - initial experience

Constantin Lapa, Katharina Lückerath, Martina Rudelius, Jan Stefan Schmid, Alexander Schoene, Andreas Schirbel, Samuel Samnick, Theo Pelzer, Andreas K. Buck, Saskia Kropf, Hans Jürgen Wester, Ken Herrmann

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89 Scopus citations


Chemokine receptor CXCR4 is a key factor for tumor growth and metastasis in several types of human cancer. This study investigated the feasibility of CXCR4- directed imaging of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with positron emission tomography/ computed tomography (PET/CT) using the radiolabelled chemokine ligand [68Ga] Pentixafor. 10 patients with primarily diagnosed (n=3) or pre-treated (n=7) SCLC (n=9) or large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung (LCNEC, n=1) underwent [68Ga]Pentixafor-PET/CT. 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ([18F]FDG, n=6) and/ or somatostatin receptor (SSTR)-directed PET/CT with [68Ga]DOTATOC (n=5) and immunohistochemistry (n=10) served as standards of reference. CXCR4-PET was positive in 8/10 patients and revealed more lesions with significantly higher tumor-to-background ratios than SSTR-PET. Two patients who were positive on [18F]FDG-PET were missed by CXCR4-PET, in the remainder [68Ga]Pentixafor detected an equal (n=2) or higher (n=2) number of lesions. CXCR4 expression of tumor lesions could be confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Non-invasive imaging of CXCR4 expression in SCLC is feasible. [68Ga]Pentixafor as a novel PET tracer might serve as readout for confirmation of CXCR4 expression as prerequisite for potential CXCR4-directed treatment including receptor-radio(drug) peptide therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9288-9295
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016


  • CXCR4
  • Molecular imaging
  • PET
  • SCLC
  • Small cell lung cancer


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