C-11 Radiochemistry in Cancer Imaging Applications

Division of Radiological Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8225, 510 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Current topics in medicinal chemistry (Impact Factor: 3.4). 04/2010; 10(11):1060-95. DOI: 10.2174/156802610791384261
Source: PubMed


Carbon-11 (C-11) radiotracers are widely used for the early diagnosis of cancer, monitoring therapeutic response to cancer treatment, and pharmacokinetic investigations of anticancer drugs. PET imaging permits non-invasive monitoring of metabolic processes and molecular targets, while carbon-11 radiotracers allow a "hot-for cold" substitution of biologically active molecules. Advances in organic synthetic chemistry and radiochemistry as well as improved automated techniques for radiosynthesis have encouraged investigators in developing carbon-11 tracers for use in oncology imaging studies. The short half-life of carbon-11 (20.38 minutes) creates special challenges for the synthesis of C-11 labeled tracers; these include the challenges of synthesizing C-11 target compounds with high radiochemical yield, high radiochemical purity and high specific activity in a short time and on a very small scale. The optimization of conditions for making a carbon-11 tracer include the late introduction of the C-11 isotope, the rapid formation and purification of the target compound, and the use of automated systems to afford a high yield of the target compound in a short time. In this review paper, we first briefly introduce some basic principles of PET imaging of cancer; we then discuss principles of carbon-11 radiochemistry, focus on specific advances in radiochemistry, and describe the synthesis of C-11 radiopharmaceuticals developed for cancer imaging. The carbon-11 radiochemistry approaches described include the N,O, and S-alkylations of [(11)C]methyl iodide/[(11)C]methyl triflate and analogues of [(11)C]methyl iodide and their applications for making carbon-11 tracers; we then address recent advances in exploring a transmetallic complex mediated [(11)C]carbonyl reaction for oncologic targets.

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