Comparison of PET imaging with 64Cu-liposomes and 18F-FDG in the 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster buccal pouch model of oral dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma

Lisa M. Mahakian, D Gregory Farwell, Hua Zhang, Jai Seo, Brian Poirier, Steven P. Tinling, Alaa M Afify, Eric M. Haynam, David Shaye, Katherine W. Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Currently, 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose ( 18F-FDG) is the gold standard radiotracer for staging of head and neck cancer; however, the low sensitivity of this tracer can impede detection of early lesions. 64Cu-liposomes accumulate in various cancers and provide both a sensitive tracer and an indication of the biodistribution of nanotherapeutics. Here, the accumulation of 64Cu-liposomes in early and established cancers is assessed and compared with 18F-FDG in a head and neck cancer model. Methods: Lesions ranging from mild dysplasia to squamous cell carcinoma were induced in a hamster model of head and neck cancer by topical application of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene to the buccal pouch. The hamsters were imaged with micro-positron emission tomography using 18F-FDG and 64Cu-liposomes. Results: At 24 h postinjection, 64Cu-liposome accumulation exceeded the accumulation of 18F-FDG in every pathologic grade. The lesion-to-cheek pouch (background) ratio and lesion-to-brain ratio were also higher for 64Cu-liposomes than for 18F-FDG. Conclusion: Imaging of a nanotracer such as 64Cu-liposomes can improve the visualization of head and neck tumors. Accumulation of liposomal particles in head and neck tumors over various pathologic grades averaged 3.5 %ID/cc demonstrating the potential for liposomal therapy with targeted chemotherapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-292
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Liposomes
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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