Radioligands Targeting Fibroblast Activation Protein (FAP)

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-250121
• Simple Summary FAP-targeted radiotracers, recently introduced in cancer treatment, accumulate in Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs). CAFs are present in tumor lesions but do not correspond to genuine cancer cells, although they behave in an abnormal and disease-promoting manner. One of their characteristic features, the expression of the surface protein FAP, can be utilized to discriminate between cancerous and healthy tissues. By the choice of an appropriate radionuclide, FAP-targeted tracers can be used for imaging or therapy in manySimple Summary FAP-targeted radiotracers, recently introduced in cancer treatment, accumulate in Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs). CAFs are present in tumor lesions but do not correspond to genuine cancer cells, although they behave in an abnormal and disease-promoting manner. One of their characteristic features, the expression of the surface protein FAP, can be utilized to discriminate between cancerous and healthy tissues. By the choice of an appropriate radionuclide, FAP-targeted tracers can be used for imaging or therapy in many cancer types. Therefore, the first successful application of FAP-targeted imaging has led to an enormous and growing interest in nuclear medicine and radiopharmacy. Abstract Targeting fibroblast activation protein (FAP) in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) has attracted significant attention in nuclear medicine. Since these cells are present in most cancerous tissues and FAP is rarely expressed in healthy tissues, anti-FAP tracers have a potential as pan-tumor agents. Compared to the standard tumor tracer [$$^{18}$$F]FDG, these tracers show better tumor-to-background ratios (TBR) in many indications. Unlike [$$^{18}$$F]FDG, FAP-targeted tracers do not require exhausting preparations, such as dietary restrictions on the part of the patient, and offer the possibility of radioligand therapy (RLT) in a theragnostic approach. Although a radiolabeled antibody was clinically investigated as early as the 1990s, the breakthrough event for FAP-targeting in nuclear medicine was the introduction and clinical application of the so-called FAPI-tracers in 2018. From then, the development and application of FAP-targeted tracers became hot topics for the radiopharmaceutical and nuclear medicine community, and attracted the interest of pharmaceutical companies. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the development of FAP-targeted radiopharmaceuticals and their application in nuclear medicine.