Simple preparation and purification of ethanol-free solutions of 3'-deoxy-3'-[ 18F]fluorothymidine by means of disposable solid-phase extraction cartridges

Claudio Pascali, Anna Bogni, Lorenza Fugazza, Claudio Cucchi, Ornella Crispu, Luca Laera, Ren Iwata, Greta Maiocchi, Flavio Crippa, Emilio Bombardieri

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: 3'-Deoxy-3'-[ 18F]fluorothymidine ([ 18F]FLT) shows great potential as a tracer for proliferative studies with PET. However, its regular application is often limited by low radiochemical yields and the use of a troublesome HPLC separation. Moreover, a high content of ethanol, at least one-fold higher than the European Pharmacopoeia and US Pharmacopoeia's established limit, is always present in the final product. The present study reports an optimization of the reaction conditions and a simple and straightforward purification step which affords a solution of [ 18F]FLT suitable for human use. Methods: Several conditions and materials were tested for both the nucleophilic substitution and purification step. The latter was achieved by means of a series of commercial solid-phase extraction cartridges. Very conveniently, the whole one-pot synthesis was carried out on commercial automated modules using basically the same setup employed for the synthesis of [ 18F]FDG. Results: Under routine conditions, radiochemical yields of 37% [decay-corrected to start of synthesis (SOS)] were achieved in ca. 39 min from SOS, with radiochemical purities >98% (usually >99%). The negligible radiolysis observed could be easily suppressed by adding 0.5% of EtOH. Typical unlabelled chemical impurities detected were thymidine (0.15 ppm), thymine (0.28 ppm) and stavudine (0.05 ppm). Conclusions: A reliable, simple and efficient preparation of [ 18F]FLT has been developed, able to afford an ethanol-free solution of the tracer with no need for any HPLC purification. Because of its similarity to the [ 18F]FDG synthesis, the method can be readily implemented on basically all the commercial modules developed for this common radiotracer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)540-550
    Number of pages11
    JournalNuclear Medicine and Biology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 May


    • Automation
    • Fluorothymidine
    • PET tracer
    • SPE cartridge purification
    • [ F]FLT

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Medicine
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
    • Cancer Research


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