Glucose transporter, sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2), has been demonstrated to contribute to the demand for glucose by pancreatic and prostate tumors, and its functional activity has been imaged using a SGLT specific PET imaging probe, α-methyl-4-[F-18]fluoro-4-deoxy-D-glucopyaranoside (Me4FDG)
In a study, Me-4FDG PET was extended to evaluate patients with high-grade astrocytic tumors. Me-4FDG PET scans were performed in four patients diagnosed with WHO Grade III or WHO Grade IV astrocytomas and control subjects, and compared with 2-Deoxy-D-glucose 18F FET PET and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the same subjects. Immunocytochemistry was carried out on Grade IV astrocytomas to determine the cellular location of SGLT proteins within the tumors. Me-4FDG retention was pronounced in astrocytomas in dramatic contrast to the lack of uptake into the normal brain, resulting in a high signal-to-noise ratio. Macroscopically, the distribution of Me-4FDG within the tumors overlapped with that of 2-FDG uptake and tumor definition using contrast-enhanced MRI images. Microscopically, the SGLT2 protein was found to be expressed in neoplastic glioblastoma cells and endothelial cells of the proliferating microvasculature. This preliminary study shows that Me-4FDG is a highly sensitive probe for visualization of high-grade astrocytomas by PET. The distribution of Me-4FDG within tumors overlapped that for 2-FDG, but the absence of background brain Me-4FDG resulted in superior imaging sensitivity. Furthermore, the presence of SGLT2 protein in astrocytoma cells and the proliferating microvasculature may offer a novel therapy using the SGLT2 inhibitors already approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus 1).