Lewis, R., Habringer, S., Kircher, M., Hefter, M., Peuker, C. A., Werner, R., Ademaj-Kospiri, V., Gable, A., Weber, W., Wester, H. J., Buck, A., Herhaus, P., Lapa, C. & Keller, U. (2021). Investigation of spleen CXCR4 expression by [(68)Ga]Pentixafor PET in a cohort of 145 solid cancer patients. EJNMMI Res, 11, 77.
The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is frequently overexpressed and associated with adverse prognosis in most hematopoietic malignancies and solid cancers. Recently, CXCR4 molecular imaging using the CXCR4-specific positron emission tomography (PET) tracer Pentixafor ([68Ga]Pentixafor) has become a well-established method to non-invasively measure CXCR4 expression in vivo. In previous Pentixafor imaging studies, highly variable CXCR4 tracer uptake to the spleen was observed.
We investigated the hypothesis that enhanced spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake and thus CXCR4 expression in patients with solid tumors would indicate an activated spleen state and/or an association with clinical and prognostic features and survival parameters. In this retrospective study, [68Ga]Pentixafor-PET images and patient records of 145 solid tumor patients representing 27 cancer entities were investigated for an association of spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake and clinical characteristics and outcome. Based on this assessment, we did not observe differences in clinical outcomes, measured by progression-free survival, overall survival and remission status neither within the entire cohort nor within subgroups of adrenal cancer, desmoplastic small round cell tumor, neuroendocrine tumors, non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients. No tumor entity showed especially high levels of spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake compared to others or a control cohort. However, when investigating laboratory parameters, there was a positive correlation of high spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake with leukocyte and/or platelet counts in neuroendocrine tumors, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.
Spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake was not associated with stage of disease and clinical outcomes in solid tumor patients. We identified positively associated platelet and/or leukocyte counts with spleen [68Ga]Pentixafor uptake in neuroendocrine tumors, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, suggesting that splenic CXCR4 expression could possibly play a role in systemic immunity/inflammation in some types of solid tumors or a subgroup of patients within solid tumor entities.