Intra-individual comparison of 68Ga-PSMA-11 and 18F-DCFPyL normal-organ biodistribution

Gonçalo Ferreira, Amir Iravani, Michael S. Hofman, Rodney J. Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Detailed data comparing the biodistribution of PSMA radioligands is still scarce, raising concerns regarding the comparability of different compounds. We investigated differences in normal-organ biodistribution and uptake variability between the two most commonly PSMA tracers in clinical use, 68Ga-PSMA-11 and 18F-DCFPyL. Methods: This retrospective analysis included 34 patients with low tumor burden referred for PET/CT imaging with 68Ga-PSMA-11 and subsequently 18F-DCFPyL. Images were acquired with 4 cross-calibrated PET/CT systems. Volumes of interest were placed on major salivary and lacrimal glands, liver, spleen, duodenum, kidneys, bladder, blood-pool and muscle. Normal-organ biodistribution of both tracers was then quantified as SUVpeak and compared using paired tests, linear regression and Bland-Altman analysis. Between-patient variability was also assessed. Clinical and protocol variables were investigated for possible interference. Results: For both tracers the highest uptake was found in the kidneys and bladder and low background activity was noted across all scans. In the quantitative analysis there was significantly higher uptake of 68Ga-PSMA-11 in the kidneys, spleen and major salivary glands (p < 0.001), while the liver exhibited slightly higher 18F-DCFPyL uptake (p = 0.001, mean bias 0.79 ± 1.30). The lowest solid-organ uptake variability was found in the liver (COV 21.9% for 68Ga-PSMA-11, 22.5% for 18F-DCFPyL). There was a weak correlation between 18F-DCFPyL uptake time and liver SUVpeak (r = 0.488, p = 0.003) and, accordingly, patients scanned at later time-points had a larger mean bias between the two tracers' liver uptake values (0.05 vs 1.46, p = 0.001). Conclusion: Normal tissue biodistribution patterns of 68Ga-PSMA-11 and 18F-DCFPyL were similar, despite subtle differences in quantitative values. Liver uptake showed an acceptable intra-patient agreement and low inter-patient variability between the two tracers, allowing its use as a reference organ for thresholding scans in the qualitative comparison of PSMA expression using these different tracers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 2019


  • Biodistribution
  • F-DCFPyL
  • Ga-PSMA-11
  • PET/CT
  • Prostate cancer


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