CXCR4-Targeted PET Imaging of Central Nervous System B-Cell Lymphoma

Herhaus, P., Lipkova, J., Lammer, F., Yakushev, I., Vag, T., Slotta-Huspenina, J., Habringer, S., Lapa, C., Pukrop, T., Hellwig, D., Wiestler, B., Buck, A. K., Deckert, M., Wester, H. J., Bassermann, F., Schwaiger, M., Weber, W., Menze, B., Keller, U. (2020). Journal of Nuclear Medicine 61, 1765-1771.

DOI:10.2967/jnumed.120.241703(link is external)


C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is a transmembrane chemokine receptor involved in growth, survival, and dissemination of cancer, including aggressive B-cell lymphoma. MRI is the standard imaging technology for central nervous system (CNS) involvement of B-cell lymphoma and provides high sensitivity but moderate specificity. Therefore, novel molecular and functional imaging strategies are urgently required. Methods: In this proof-of-concept study, 11 patients with lymphoma of the CNS (8 primary and 3 secondary involvement) were imaged with the CXCR4-directed PET tracer 68Ga-pentixafor. To evaluate the predictive value of this imaging modality, treatment response, as determined by MRI, was correlated with quantification of CXCR4 expression by 68Ga-pentixafor PET in vivo before initiation of treatment in 7 of 11 patients. Results: 68Ga-pentixafor PET showed excellent contrast with the surrounding brain parenchyma in all patients with active disease. Furthermore, initial CXCR4 uptake determined by PET correlated with subsequent treatment response as assessed by MRI. Conclusion: 68Ga-pentixafor PET represents a novel diagnostic tool for CNS lymphoma with potential implications for theranostic approaches as well as response and risk assessment.