• Buck JR, McKinley ET, Fu A, Abel TW, Thompson RC, Chambless L, Watchmaker JM, Harty JP, Cooper MK, Manning HC. Preclinical TSPO Ligand PET to Visualize Human Glioma Xenotransplants: A Preliminary Study. PloS one. 10(10). e0141659. PMID: 26517124 [PubMed]. PMCID: PMC4627825.


Current positron emission tomography (PET) imaging biomarkers for detection of infiltrating gliomas are limited. Translocator protein (TSPO) is a novel and promising biomarker for glioma PET imaging. To validate TSPO as a potential target for molecular imaging of glioma, TSPO expression was assayed in a tumor microarray containing 37 high-grade (III, IV) gliomas. TSPO staining was detected in all tumor specimens. Subsequently, PET imaging was performed with an aryloxyanilide-based TSPO ligand, [18F]PBR06, in primary orthotopic xenograft models of WHO grade III and IV gliomas. Selective uptake of [18F]PBR06 in engrafted tumor was measured. Furthermore, PET imaging with [18F]PBR06 demonstrated infiltrative glioma growth that was undetectable by traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Preliminary PET with [18F]PBR06 demonstrated a preferential tumor-to-normal background ratio in comparison to 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose ([18F]FDG). These results suggest that TSPO PET imaging with such high-affinity radiotracers may represent a novel strategy to characterize distinct molecular features of glioma growth, as well as better define the extent of glioma infiltration for therapeutic purposes.