Radiolabeled fluoromisonidazole as an imaging agent for tumor hypoxia

Janet S. Rasey, Wui Jin Koh, John R. Grierson, Zdenka Grunbaum, Kenneth A. Krohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Fluoromisonidazole labeled with H-3 or F-18 has been tested as a quantitative probe for hypoxic cells in vitro and in rodent and spontaneous dog tumors in vivo. In V-79, EMT-6(UW), RIF-1, and canine osteosarcoma cells in vitro, the binding of 50 μM [H-3]Fluoromisonidazole was 50% inhibited by 1000-2000 PPM 02, relative to binding under anoxic conditions. After a 3 hr incubation with labeled drug, the anoxic/oxic binding ratios ranged from 12 to 27 for the four cell types. Retention of [H-3]fluoromisonidazole 4 hr after injection was greater in large KHT tumors (400-600 mm3) with an estimated hypoxic fraction > 30%, than in smaller tumors (50-200 mm3) with an estimated hypoxic fraction of 7-12%. RIF-1 tumors, with an estimated hypoxic fraction of 1.5%, retained the least label, with tumor: blood ratios ranging from 1.7 to 1.9. Spontaneous dog osteosarcomas were imaged with a time of flight positron emission tomograph for up to 5 hr following injection of [F-18] fluoromisonidazole. Analysis of regions of interest in images allowed creation of dynamic tissue time activity curves and calculation of tissue uptake in cpm/gram. These values were compared to radioactivity in plasma. In all cases, retention in some tumor regions exceeded that in plasma and in normal tissue, such as muscle or brain, by 3 to 5 hr post injection. Uptake of fluoromisonidazole in tumors was heterogeneous, with ratios of maximum to minimum uptake as high as 4 in different regions of interest in the same tumor. Tumor:plasma values ranged from 0.28 to 2.02. The oxygen dependency of fluoromisonidazole retention was similar in a variety of cell types and was 50% inhibited by 02 levels in the transition between full radiobiological hypoxia and partial sensitization. The quantitative regional imaging of [F-18] fluoromisonidazole in spontaneous canine tumors at varying times post-injection lays the basis for imaging and modeling of oxygen-dependent drug retention in different regions of human neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-991
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluoromisonidazole
  • Hypoxia
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Tumor
  • Tumor predictive assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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