Tumors have a greater reliance on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production than normal tissues. We developed a noninvasive method for imaging glucose uptake in vivo that is based on magnetic resonance imaging and allows the uptake of unlabeled glucose to be measured through the chemical exchange of protons between hydroxyl groups and water. This method differs from existing molecular imaging methods because it permits detection of the delivery and uptake of a metabolically active compound in physiological quantities. We show that our technique, named glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST), is sensitive to tumor glucose accumulation in colorectal tumor models and can distinguish tumor types with differing metabolic characteristics and pathophysiologies. The results of this study suggest that glucoCEST has potential as a useful and cost-effective method for characterizing disease and assessing response to therapy in the clinic.
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This work was funded by King's College London and UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre, and The Institute of Cancer Research Cancer Imaging Centre, Cancer Research UK and EPSRC in association with the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Department of Health (England) (C1060/A10334, C1519/A10331, C16412/A6269 and C309/A8274) and the British Heart Foundation and was supported by researchers at the National Institute for Health Research UCL Hospital Biomedical Research Centre.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Walker-Samuel, S., Ramasawmy, R., Torrealdea, F. et al. In vivo imaging of glucose uptake and metabolism in tumors. Nat Med 19, 1067–1072 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3252
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