F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 27 Nov 2023

F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is the most common PET radiotracer.

The radiopharmaceutical consists of the fluorine-18 radionuclide substituting the hydroxyl group at the C-2 position of glucose. The IUPAC chemical name is 2-deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoroglucose.

F-18 fluoride ion is created in a cyclotron and then converted via an automated chemistry module into F-18 FDG. Specifically, F-18 FDG is produced through a nucleophilic substitution reaction, using the F-18 fluoride by nuclear reaction 18O (p,n) 18F starting from water (H2O) enriched with oxygen-18.

  • physical half-life: 110 minutes

  • excretion: renal

Physiologic activity is commonly seen in the following organs:

  • brain (especially in basal ganglia, posterior cingulate cortex and visual cortex) 1

  • heart (especially left ventricular myocardium)

  • kidneys and bladder (due to urinary excretion)

  • liver (often used as an internal reference standard on whole body scans)

Other sites of physiologic uptake are variable or less intense:

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