Imaging of somatostatin receptor expression is an established technique for staging of neuroendocrine neoplasia and determining the suitability of patients for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. PET/CT using 68Ga-labeled somatostatin analogs is superior to earlier agents, but the rapid physical decay of the radionuclide poses logistic and regulatory challenges. 64Cu has attractive physical characteristics for imaging and provides a diagnostic partner for the therapeutic radionuclide 67Cu. Based on promising preclinical studies, we have performed a first-time-in-humans trial of 64Cu-MeCOSar-Tyr3-octreotate (64Cu-SARTATE) to assess its safety and ability to localize disease at early and late imaging time-points. Methods: In a prospective trial, 10 patients with known neuroendocrine neoplasia and positive for uptake on 68Ga-DOTA-octreotate (68Ga-DOTATATE) PET/CT underwent serial PET/CT imaging at 30 min, 1 h, 4 h, and 24 h after injection of 64Cu-SARTATE. Adverse reactions were recorded, and laboratory testing was performed during infusion and at 1 and 7 d after imaging. Images were analyzed for lesion and normal-organ uptake and clearance to assess lesion contrast and perform dosimetry estimates. Results: 64Cu-SARTATE was well tolerated during infusion and throughout the study, with 3 patients experiencing mild infusion-related events. High lesion uptake and retention were observed at all imaging time-points. There was progressive hepatic clearance over time, providing the highest lesion-to-liver contrast at 24 h. Image quality remained high at this time. Comparison of 64Cu-SARTATE PET/CT obtained at 4 h to 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT obtained at 1 h indicated comparable or superior lesion detection in all patients, especially in the liver. As expected, the highest early physiologic organ uptake was in the kidneys, liver, and spleen. Conclusion: 64Cu-SARTATE is safe and has excellent imaging characteristics. High late-retention in tumor and clearance from the liver suggest suitability for diagnostic studies and for prospective dosimetry for 67Cu-SARTATE peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, and the half-life of 64Cu would also facilitate good-manufacturing-practice production and distribution to sites without access to 68Ga.
- Neuroendocrine tumor
- Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy
- Positron emission tomography