18F-labeled amino acids are an important class of imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) that
target the increased rates of amino acid transport by many tumor cells. This class of tracers is structurally diverse, and the
biological and imaging properties of a given 18F-labeled amino acid depends largely upon its mechanism of transport. The
system L amino acid transport system has been a major focus of tracer development in this field, but more recently 18Flabeled
amino acids have been developed for other transporters including system A, glutamine, glutamate and cationic
amino acid transport systems. Radiolabeled amino acids are best established for brain tumor imaging, but there are emerging
applications in other types of cancer such as neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer. This review provides an
overview of 18F-labeled amino acids for oncologic imaging in terms of design considerations, radiosynthetic methods, and
key clinical applications.
Keywords: Amino acid transport, amino acids, fluorine-18, PET, radiosynthesis, tumor imaging.
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