Fibroblast Activation Protein-Directed Imaging Outperforms 18F-FDG PET/CT in Malignant Mesothelioma: A Prospective, Single-Center, Observational Trial

Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2024 July 3 [Link]

Lukas Kessler, Felix Schwaning, Martin Metzenmacher, Kim Pabst, Jens Siveke, Marija Trajkovic-Arsic, Benedikt Schaarschmidt, Marcel Wiesweg, Clemens Aigner, Till Plönes, Kaid Darwiche, Servet Bölükbas, Martin Stuschke, Lale Umutlu, Michael Nader, Dirk Theegarten, Rainer Hamacher, Wilfried E E Eberhardt, Martin Schuler, Ken Herrmann, Wolfgang P Fendler, Hubertus Hautzel


The fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is highly expressed in tumor and stromal cells of mesothelioma and thus is an interesting imaging and therapeutic target. Previous data on PET imaging with radiolabeled FAP inhibitors (FAPIs) suggest high potential for superior tumor detection. Here, we report the data of a large malignant pleural mesothelioma cohort within a 68Ga-FAPI46 PET observational trial (NCT04571086). Methods: Of 43 eligible patients with suspected or proven malignant mesothelioma, 41 could be included in the data analysis of the 68Ga-FAPI46 PET observational trial. All patients underwent 68Ga-FAPI46 PET/CT, contrast-enhanced CT, and 18F-FDG PET/CT. The primary study endpoint was the association of 68Ga-FAPI46 PET uptake intensity and histopathologic FAP expression. Furthermore, secondary endpoints were detection rate and sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values as compared with 18F-FDG PET/CT. Datasets were interpreted by 2 masked readers. Results: The primary endpoint was met, and the association between 68Ga-FAPI46 SUVmax or SUVpeak and histopathologic FAP expression was significant (SUVmax: r = 0.49, P = 0.037; SUVpeak: r = 0.51, P = 0.030).68Ga-FAPI46 and 18F-FDG showed similar sensitivity by histopathologic validation on a per-patient (100.0% vs. 97.3%) and per region (98.0% vs. 95.9%) basis. Per-region analysis revealed higher 68Ga-FAPI46 than 18F-FDG specificity (81.1% vs. 36.8%) and positive predictive value (87.5% vs. 66.2%). Conclusion: We confirm an association of 68Ga-FAPI46 uptake and histopathologic FAP expression in mesothelioma patients. Additionally, we report high sensitivity and superior specificity and positive predictive value for 68Ga-FAPI46 versus 18F-FDG.