Choline C-11

Last revised by Francesco Sciacca on 26 Apr 2020

Carbon-11-choline (choline C-11 or 11C-choline) is the most studied isotope carbon-11 PET radiopharmaceutical.  The molecule is used for oncologic Imaging 1-4. Choline is one of the components of phosphatidylcholine, a fundamental element of cell membrane phospholipids 5. Cancer cells tend to have a high uptake of the radio-tracer; the increased uptake is presumed to be due to the increase in membrane phosphatidylcholine synthesis (up-regulation of the choline kinase enzyme) 6.

Physical characteristics of carbon-11
  • Half-life: 20.38 minutes 7
  • Emax+): 961 KeV
  • ß+ decay: 100%
Quality controls

If the 11C-choline is employed for brain imaging it is important that there is no 2-dimethylaminoethanol (the precursor used for synthesis) in the injectable solution. 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol), in fact, presents to consider with respect to choline a greater affinity for the transport molecules present on the blood-brain barrier 8.


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