Molecular imaging with gallium-68 labelled biomolecules

Douglas Smyth, Fares Al-Ejeh, Chris Tsopelas, Michael Brown, Barry Chatterton

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Gallium-68 (T1/2 = 68 mins) has emerged in the last few years as a highly promising radionuclide for diagnostic imaging with PET. A distinguishing feature of this isotope is that it is obtained by the elution of a small benchtop 68Ge/68Ga generator in a similar way to the 99Mo/99mTc workhorse of nuclear medicine. As the parent germanium-68 isotope has a half life of 271 day s the 68Ge/68Ga generator has a useful life of approximately one year. The 68Ga radionuclide obtained from the generator is in a suitable chemical form to be directly chelated by small molecules or larger biomolecules bearing a chelating group.1 Some promising 68Ga-labelled radiopharmaceuticals have entered clinical trials, primarily for imaging tumours. The standout and most clinically advanced of the 68Ga-based radiopharmaceuticals are the 68Ga-labelled octreotide analogs for molecular imaging of somatostatin receptors (SSR) which are overexpressed on the cell surface of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) and their metastases. Several clinical studies have shown that PET imaging with 68Ga-DOTATOC (and similar somatostatin analogs) is superior to conventional 111In-DTPA-octreotide SPECT imaging in detecting NETs and metasteses, particularly of small lesions and lesions with low density of somatostatin receptors.2,3 68Ga-DOTATATE PET is superior to 18F-FDG PET in detecting well differentiated and low grade NETs and is complimentary to 18F-FDG PET for intermediate and high grade NETs.4.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalANZ Nuclear Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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