Carbon-11-labeled sarcosine as a prostate cancer imaging agent

A new paper in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine has reported the first use of [11C]sarcosine in combination with PET/CT scanning as a technique for imaging prostate cancer in man.Here is a link to the abstract of the paper by Piert et al.

However, patients need to be aware that even if [11C]sarcosine is proved to be a significantly better imaging agent than [11C]choline or [11C]acetate (which does seem like a possibility), it will still come with a major problem, which is the very short half-life of carbon-11 (at about 20 minutes).

This short half-life of carbon-11 means that all imaging agents based on carbon-11 currently have to be made on site. They can’t be made somewhere else and then shipped to the user (like a drug or like the imaging agent Axumin).

The consequence is that carbon-11-based imaging agents for use with PET/CT scans are always going to be available only at highly specialized centers that have both the PET/CT scanning technology necessary to take the images and the nuclear medicine manufacturing capabilities to make the carbon-11-containing imaging agents. At present, from a clinical point of view, such highly specialized centers are few and far between, and we don’t expect this to change much in the near future.

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