Molecular targeted positron emission tomography imaging and radionuclide therapy of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Thomas T. Poels*, Floris A. Vuijk, Lioe-Fee de Geus-Oei, Alexander L. Vahrmeijer, Daniela E. Oprea-Lager, Rutger-Jan Swijnenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an inauspicious prognosis, mainly due to difficulty in early detection of the disease by the current imaging modalities. The upcoming development of tumour-specific tracers provides an alternative solution for more accurate diagnostic imaging techniques for staging and therapy response monitoring. The future goal to strive for, in a patient with PDAC, should definitely be first to receive a diagnostic dose of an antibody labelled with a radionuclide and to subsequently receive a therapeutic dose of the same labelled antibody with curative intent. In the first part of this paper, we summarise the available evidence on tumour-targeted diagnostic tracers for molecular positron emission tomography (PET) imaging that have been tested in humans, together with their clinical indications. Tracers such as radiolabelled prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)—in particular,18 F-labelled PSMA—already validated and successfully implemented in clinical practice for prostate cancer, also seem promising for PDAC. In the second part, we discuss the theranostic applications of these tumour-specific tracers. Although targeted radionuclide therapy is still in its infancy, lessons can already be learned from early publications focusing on dose fractioning and adding a radiosensitiser, such as gemcitabine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6164
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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