Uptake of tritiated thymidine, deoxyglucose and methionine in three lung cancer cell lines: Deoxyglucose uptake mirrors tritiated thymidine uptake

Silvia Nerini-Molteni, Ettore Seregni, Flavio Crippa, Lorenzo Maffioli, Carlo Botti, Emilio Bombardieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


[18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose and [11C]-methionine are tracers which are widely used in oncological positron emission tomography. This study has been designed to assess the deoxyglucose and methionine uptake behaviour in three cell lines from different lung cancer histotypes. Tracer uptake was compared with proliferative activity as determined by growth curves and tritiated thymidine uptake. Deoxyglucose paralleled thymidine in all cell lines, peaking in the lag phase, decreasing throughout the exponential phase, and reaching its minimum in the plateau phase. The correlation was statistically verified and Spearman's ρ ranged from 0.79 to 0.99. The absolute methionine uptake was always highest and always peaked on day 2, followed by a quite rapid decrease. However, besides the delay in maximum uptake, methionine incorporation was also related to proliferation, although the statistical correlations were weaker. These results show for the first time a clear correlation between deoxyglucose uptake and cell proliferation in a model comparing tracer uptake in different growth phases. Although delayed, methionine uptake was also related to cell growth and its greater intensity could be of interest for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalTumor Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Deoxyglucose
  • Lung cancer cell lines
  • Methionine
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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