Overexpression, activation, and mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are commonly found in solid tumors. The aim of this study was to develop a PET-based method for detecting the constitutively active mutant de2-7 EGFR, which is associated with disease progression and resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy in glioma. METHODS: The chimeric antibody ch806, which selectively binds an epitope of the EGFR that is exposed only on overexpressed, mutant, or ligand-activated forms of the receptor, was conjugated to the radiohalogen (124)I via the residualizing ligand IMP-R4, and in vitro properties were characterized. In vivo biodistribution and small-animal PET studies were performed in BALB/c nude mice bearing U87MG.de2-7 glioma xenografts. Imaging results were correlated with measured tumor uptake of the radioconjugate. RESULTS: (124)I-IMP-R4-ch806 had an immunoreactivity of 78.3 and was stable for 7 d when incubated in serum in vitro. The biodistribution analysis of (124)I-IMP-R4-ch806 demonstrated a maximal uptake of 30.95 +/- 6.01 percentage injected dose per gram ( ID/g) in U87MG.de2-7 xenografts at 48 h after injection, with prolonged tumor retention (6.07 +/- 0.80 ID/g at 216 h after injection). The tumor-to-blood ratio increased from 0.44 at 4 h after injection to a maximum of 4.70 at 168 h after injection. PET of (124)I-IMP-R4-ch806 biodistribution was able to clearly detect the U87MG.de2-7 tumors at 24 h after injection and for at least 168 h after injection. Correlation between tumor PET image quantitation of (124)I-IMP-R4-ch806 and ID/g determined from resected tissues (r = 0.9350) was excellent. CONCLUSION: These results show that immuno-PET with (124)I-IMP-R4-ch806 is feasible and allows noninvasive quantitation of de2-7 EGFR expression in vivo.