In vivo biodistribution of no-carrier-added 6-18F-fluoro-3, 4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (18F-DOPA), produced by a new nucleophilic substitution approach, compared with carrier-added 18F-DOPA, prepared by conventional electrophilic substitution

Willem Jan Kuik, Ido P. Kema, Adrienne H. Brouwers, Rolf Zijlma, Kiel D. Neumann, Rudi A.J.O. Dierckx, Stephen G. DiMagno, Philip H. Elsinga

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40 Scopus citations


A novel synthetic approach to 6-18F-fluoro-3, 4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (18F-DOPA), involving the nucleophilic substitution of a diaryliodonium salt precursor with non-carrier-added 18F-fluoride, yielded a product with a specific activity that was 3 orders of magnitude higher than the product of the conventional synthesis method involving an electrophilic substitution of a trialkylstannane precursor with 18F2. We performed a direct comparison of high- and lowspecific- activity 18F-DOPA in a neuroendocrine tumor model to determine whether this difference in specific activity has implications for the biologic behavior and imaging properties of 18F-DOPA.

Methods: 18F-DOPA was produced via the novel synthesis method, yielding 18F-DOPA-H with a high specific activity (35, 050 ± 4, 000 GBq/mmol). This product was compared in several experiments with conventional 18F-DOPA-L with a low specific activity (11 ± 2 GBq/mmol). In vitro accumulation experiments with the human pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cell line BON-1 were performed at both 0°C and 37°C and at 37°C in the presence of pharmacologic inhibitors of proteins involved in the uptake mechanism of 18FDOPA. Small-animal PET experiments were performed in athymic nude mice bearing a BON-1 tumor xenograft.

Results: At 37°C, the uptake of both 18F-DOPA-H and 18F-DOPA-L did not differ significantly during a 60-min accumulation experiment in BON-1 cells. At 0°C, the uptake of 18F-DOPA-L was significantly decreased, whereas the lower temperature did not alter the uptake of 18FDOPA- H. The pharmacologic inhibitors carbidopa and tetrabenazine also revealed differential effects between the 2 types of 18FDOPA in the 60-min accumulation experiment. The small-animal PET experiments did not show any significant differences in distribution and metabolism of 18F-DOPA-H and 18F-DOPA-L in carbidopapretreated mice.

Conclusion: The advantages of the novel synthesis of 18F-DOPA, which relies on nucleophilic fluorination of a diaryliodonium salt precursor, lie in the simplicity of the synthesis method, compared with the conventional, electrophilic approach and in the reduced mass of administered, pharmacologically active 19F-DOPA. 18F-DOPA-H demonstrated comparable imaging properties in an in vivo model for neuroendocrine tumors, despite the fact that the injected mass of material was 3 orders of magnitude less than 18F-DOPA-L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Diaryliodonium salt
  • F
  • F-DOPA
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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