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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 786463, 9 pages
Review Article

The Copper Radioisotopes: A Systematic Review with Special Interest to 64Cu

1Nuclear Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Piazza G. Cesare 11, 70124 Bari, Italy
2Nuclear Medicine, University of Catanzaro Magna Graecia, Viale Europa, Localitá Germaneto, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy

Received 23 December 2013; Accepted 18 April 2014; Published 7 May 2014

Academic Editor: Gianluca Valentini

Copyright © 2014 Artor Niccoli Asabella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Copper (Cu) is an important trace element in humans; it plays a role as a cofactor for numerous enzymes and other proteins crucial for respiration, iron transport, metabolism, cell growth, and hemostasis. Natural copper comprises two stable isotopes, 63Cu and 65Cu, and 5 principal radioisotopes for molecular imaging applications (60Cu, 61Cu, 62Cu, and 64Cu) and in vivo targeted radiation therapy (64Cu and 67Cu). The two potential ways to produce Cu radioisotopes concern the use of the cyclotron or the reactor. A noncopper target is used to produce noncarrier-added Cu thanks to a chemical separation from the target material using ion exchange chromatography achieving a high amount of radioactivity with the lowest possible amount of nonradioactive isotopes. In recent years, Cu isotopes have been linked to antibodies, proteins, peptides, and nanoparticles for preclinical and clinical research; pathological conditions that influence Cu metabolism such as Menkes syndrome, Wilson disease, inflammation, tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis, and drug resistance have been studied. We aim to discuss all Cu radioisotopes application focusing on 64Cu and in particular its form 64CuCl2 that seems to be the most promising for its half-life, radiation emissions, and stability with chelators, allowing several applications in oncological and nononcological fields.