First (18)F-labeled ligand for PET imaging of uPAR: in vivo studies in human prostate cancer xenografts.
ABSTRACT: Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is overexpressed in human prostate cancer and uPAR has been found to be associated with metastatic disease and poor prognosis. AE105 is a small linear peptide with high binding affinity to uPAR. We synthesized an N-terminal NOTA-conjugated version (NOTA-AE105) for development of the first (18)F-labeled uPAR positron-emission-tomography PET ligand using the Al(18)F radiolabeling method. In this study, the potential of (18)F-AlF-NOTA-AE105 to specifically target uPAR-positive prostate tumors was investigated.NOTA-conjugated AE105 was synthesized and radiolabeled with (18)F-AlF according to a recently published optimized protocol. The labeled product was purified by reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography RP-HPLC. The tumor targeting properties were evaluated in mice with subcutaneously inoculated PC-3 xenografts using small animal PET and ex vivo biodistribution studies. uPAR-binding specificity was studied by coinjection of an excess of a uPAR antagonist peptide AE105 analogue (AE152).NOTA-AE105 was labeled with (18)F-AlF in high radiochemical purity (>92%) and yield (92.7%) and resulted in a specific activity of greater than 20GBq/?mol. A high and specific tumor uptake was found. At 1h post injection, the uptake of (18)F-AlF-NOTA-AE105 in PC-3 tumors was 4.22 ± 0.13%ID/g. uPAR-binding specificity was demonstrated by a reduced uptake of (18)F-AlF-NOTA-AE105 after coinjection of a blocking dose of uPAR antagonist at all three time points investigated. Good tumor-to-background ratio was observed with small animal PET and confirmed in the biodistribution analysis. Ex vivo uPAR expression analysis on extracted tumors confirmed human uPAR expression that correlated close with tumor uptake of (18)F-AlF-NOTA-AE105.The first (18)F-labeled uPAR PET ligand, (18)F-AlF-NOTA-AE105, has successfully been prepared and effectively visualized noninvasively uPAR positive prostate cancer. The favorable in vivo kinetics and easy production method facilitate its future clinical translation for identification of prostate cancer patients with an invasive phenotype and poor prognosis.
Project description:Expression of the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in prostate cancer suggests that this receptor can be used as a potential molecular target to visualize and treat these tumors. We have previously investigated an antagonist analog of bombesin (D-Phe-Gln-Trp-Ala-Val-Gly-His-Sta-Leu-NH2, RM26) conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N',N''-triacetic acid (NOTA) via a diethylene glycol (PEG2) spacer (NOTA-P2-RM26) labeled with (68)Ga and (111)In. We found that this conjugate has favorable properties for in vivo imaging of GRPR-expression. The focus of this study was to develop a (18)F-labelled PET agent to visualize GRPR. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with (18)F using aluminum-fluoride chelation. Stability, in vitro binding specificity and cellular processing tests were performed. The inhibition efficiency (IC50) of the [(nat)F]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 was compared to that of the (nat)Ga-loaded peptide using (125)I-Tyr(4)-BBN as the displacement radioligand. The pharmacokinetics and in vivo binding specificity of the compound were studied. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with (18)F within 1 h (60-65% decay corrected radiochemical yield, 55 GBq/µmol). The radiopeptide was stable in murine serum and showed high specific binding to PC-3 cells. [(nat)F]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 showed a low nanomolar inhibition efficiency (IC50=4.4±0.8 nM). The internalization rate of the tracer was low. Less than 14% of the cell-bound radioactivity was internalized after 4 h. The biodistribution of [(18)F]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 demonstrated rapid blood clearance, low liver uptake and low kidney retention. The tumor uptake at 3 h p.i. was 5.5±0.7 %ID/g, and the tumor-to-blood, -muscle and -bone ratios were 87±42, 159±47, 38±16, respectively. The uptake in tumors, pancreas and other GRPR-expressing organs was significantly reduced when excess amount of non-labeled peptide was co-injected. The low uptake in bone suggests a high in vivo stability of the Al-F bond. High contrast PET image was obtained 3 h p.i. The initial biological results suggest that [(18)F]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 is a promising candidate for PET imaging of GRPR in vivo.
Project description:A first-in-human clinical trial with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) in patients with breast, prostate and bladder cancer, is described. uPAR is expressed in many types of human cancers and the expression is predictive of invasion, metastasis and indicates poor prognosis. uPAR PET imaging therefore holds promise to be a new and innovative method for improved cancer diagnosis, staging and individual risk stratification. The uPAR specific peptide AE105 was conjugated to the macrocyclic chelator DOTA and labeled with (64)Cu for targeted molecular imaging with PET. The safety, pharmacokinetic, biodistribution profile and radiation dosimetry after a single intravenous dose of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 were assessed by serial PET and computed tomography (CT) in 4 prostate, 3 breast and 3 bladder cancer patients. Safety assessment with laboratory blood screening tests was performed before and after PET ligand injection. In a subgroup of the patients, the in vivo stability of our targeted PET ligand was determined in collected blood and urine. No adverse or clinically detectable side effects in any of the 10 patients were found. The ligand exhibited good in vivo stability and fast clearance from plasma and tissue compartments by renal excretion. In addition, high uptake in both primary tumor lesions and lymph node metastases was seen and paralleled high uPAR expression in excised tumor tissue. Overall, this first-in-human study therefore provides promising evidence for safe use of (64)Cu-DOTA-AE105 for uPAR PET imaging in cancer patients.
Project description:Overexpression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptors (uPAR) represents an important biomarker for aggressiveness in most common malignant diseases, including prostate cancer (PC). Accordingly, uPAR expression either assessed directly in malignant PC tissue or assessed directly in plasma (intact/cleaved forms)-provides independent additional clinical information to that contributed by PSA, Gleason score, and other relevant pathological and clinical parameters. In this respect, non-invasive molecular imaging by positron emission tomography (PET) offers a very attractive technology platform, which can provide the required quantitative information on the uPAR expression profile, without the need for invasive procedures and the risk of missing the target due to tumor heterogeneity. These observations support non-invasive PET imaging of uPAR in PC as a clinically relevant diagnostic and prognostic imaging method. In this review, we will focus on the recent development of uPAR PET and the relevance within prostate cancer imaging. Novel antibody and small-molecule radiotracers-targeting uPAR, including a series of uPAR-targeting PET ligands, based on the high affinity peptide ligand AE105, have been synthesized and tested in vitro and in vivo in preclinical murine xenograft models and, recently, in a first-ever clinical uPAR PET study in cancer patients, including patients with PC. In this phase I study, a high and specific uptake of the tracer 64Cu-DOTA-AE105 was found in both primary tumors and lymph node metastases. The results are encouraging and support large-scale clinical trials to determine the utility of uPAR PET in the management of patients with PC with the goal of improving outcome.
Project description:The overexpression of gelatinases, that is, matrix metalloproteinase MMP2 and MMP9, has been associated with tumor progression, invasion, and metastasis. To image MMP2 in tumors, we developed a novel ligand termed [18F]AlF-NOTA-C6, with consideration that: c(KAHWGFTLD)NH2 (herein, C6) is a selective gelatinase inhibitor; Cy5.5-C6 has been visualized in many in vivo tumor models; positron emission tomography (PET) has a higher detection sensitivity and a wider field of view than optical imaging; fluorine-18 (18F) is the optimal PET radioisotope, and the creation of a [18F]AlF-peptide complex is a simple procedure.C6 was conjugated to the bifunctional chelator NOTA (1, 4, 7-triazacyclononanetriacetic acid) for radiolabeling [18F]AlF conjugation. The MMP2-binding characteristics and tumor-targeting efficacy of [18F]AlF-NOTA-C6 were tested in vitro and in vivo.The non-decay corrected yield of [18F]AlF-NOTA-C6 was 46.2-64.2%, and the radiochemical purity exceeded 95%. [18F]AlF-NOTA-C6 was favorably retained in SKOV3 and PC3 cells, determined by cell uptake. Using NOTA-C6 as a competitive ligand, the uptake of [18F]AlF-NOTA-C6 in SKOV3 cells decreased in a dose-dependent manner. In biodistribution and PET imaging studies, higher radioactivity concentrations were observed in tumors. Pre-injection of C6 caused a marked reduction in tumor tissue uptake. Immunohistochemistry showed MMP2 in tumor tissues.[18F]AlF-NOTA-C6 was easy to synthesize and has substantial potential as an imaging agent that targets MMP2 in tumors.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) serves as an attractive target for cancer molecular imaging and therapy. Our previous positron emission tomography (PET) studies showed that the EGFR-targeting affibody molecules (64)Cu-DOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-FBEM-ZEGFR:1907 can discriminate between high and low EGFR-expression tumors and have the potential for patient selection for EGFR-targeted therapy. Compared with (64)Cu, (18)F may improve imaging of EGFR-expression and is more suitable for clinical application, but the labeling reaction of (18)F-FBEM-ZEGFR:1907 requires a long synthesis time. The aim of the present study is to develop a new generation of (18)F labeled affibody probes (Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907) and to determine whether they are suitable agents for imaging of EGFR expression. The first approach consisted of conjugating ZEGFR:1907 with NOTA and radiolabeling with Al(18)F to produce Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907. In a second approach the prosthetic group (18)F-labeled-2-cyanobenzothiazole ((18)F-CBT) was conjugated to Cys-ZEGFR:1907 to produce (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907. Binding affinity and specificity of Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 to EGFR were evaluated using A431 cells. Biodistribution and PET studies were conducted on mice bearing A431 xenografts after injection of Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 or (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 with or without coinjection of unlabeled affibody proteins. The radiosyntheses of Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 were completed successfully within 40 and 120 min with a decay-corrected yield of 15% and 41% using a 2-step, 1-pot reaction and 2-step, 2-pot reaction, respectively. Both probes bound to EGFR with low nanomolar affinity in A431 cells. Although (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 showed instability in vivo, biodistribution studies revealed rapid and high tumor accumulation and quick clearance from normal tissues except the bones. In contrast, Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 demonstrated high in vitro and in vivo stability, high tumor uptake, and relative low uptake in most of the normal organs except the liver and kidneys at 3 h after injection. The specificity of both probes for A431 tumors was confirmed by their lower uptake on coinjection of unlabeled affibody. PET studies showed that Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 could clearly identify EGFR positive tumors with good contrast. Two strategies for (18)F-labeling of affibody molecules were successfully developed as two model platforms using NOTA or CBT coupling to affibody molecules that contain an N-terminal cysteine. Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 and (18)F-CBT-ZEGFR:1907 can be reliably obtained in a relatively short time. Biodistribution and PET studies demonstrated that Al(18)F-NOTA-ZEGFR:1907 is a promising PET probe for imaging EGFR expression in living mice.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gallium-68 labeled synthetic somatostatin analogs for PET/CT imaging are the current gold standard for somatostatin receptor imaging in neuroendocrine tumor patients. Despite good imaging properties, their use in clinical practice is hampered by the low production levels of 68Ga eluted from a 68Ge/68Ga generator. In contrast, 18F-tracers can be produced in large quantities allowing centralized production and distribution to distant PET centers. [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide is a promising tracer that combines a straightforward Al18F-based production procedure with excellent in vivo pharmacokinetics and specific tumor uptake, demonstrated in SSTR2 positive tumor mice. However, advancing towards clinical studies with [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide requires the development of an efficient automated GMP production process and additional preclinical studies are necessary to further evaluate the in vivo properties of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide. In this study, we present the automated GMP production of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide on the Trasis AllinOne® radio-synthesizer platform and quality control of the drug product in accordance with GMP. Further, radiometabolite studies were performed and the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide were assessed in healthy rats using ?PET/MR. RESULTS:The production process of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide has been validated by three validation production runs and the tracer was obtained with a final batch activity of 10.8?±?1.3?GBq at end of synthesis with a radiochemical yield of 26.1?±?3.6% (dc), high radiochemical purity and stability (96.3?±?0.2% up to 6?h post synthesis) and an apparent molar activity of 160.5?±?75.3?GBq/?mol. The total synthesis time was 40?±?3?min. Further, the quality control was successfully implemented using validated analytical procedures. Finally, [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide showed high in vivo stability and favorable pharmacokinetics with high and specific accumulation in SSTR2-expressing organs in rats. CONCLUSION:This robust and automated production process provides high batch activity of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide allowing centralized production and shipment of the compound to remote PET centers. Further, the production process and quality control developed for [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide is easily implementable in a clinical setting and the tracer is a potential clinical alternative for somatostatin directed 68Ga labeled peptides obviating the need for a 68Ge/68Ga-generator. Finally, the favorable in vivo properties of [18F]AlF-NOTA-octreotide in rats, with high and specific accumulation in SSTR2 expressing organs, supports clinical translation.
Project description:Single domain antibody fragments (sdAbs) labeled with 18F have shown promise for assessing the status of oncological targets such as the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) by positron emission tomography (PET). Earlier, we evaluated two residualizing prosthetic agents for 18F-labeling of anti-HER2 sdAbs; however, these methods resulted in poor labeling yields and high uptake of 18F activity in the kidneys. To potentially mitigate these limitations, we have now developed an 18F labeling method that utilizes the trans-cyclooctene (TCO)-tetrazine (Tz)-based inverse-electron demand Diels-Alder reaction (IEDDAR) in tandem with a renal brush border enzyme-cleavable glycine-lysine (GK) linker in the prosthetic moiety. The HER2-targeted sdAb 2Rs15d was derivatized with TCO-GK-PEG4-NHS or TCO-PEG4-NHS, which lacks the cleavable linker. As an additional control, the non HER2-specific sdAb R3B23 was derivatized with TCO-GK-PEG4-NHS. The resultant sdAb conjugates were labeled with 18F by IEDDAR using [18F]AlF-NOTA-PEG4-methyltetrazine. As a positive control, the 2Rs15d sdAb was radioiodinated using the well-characterized residualizing prosthetic agent, N-succinimidyl 4-guanidinomethyl-3-[125I]iodobenzoate ([125I]SGMIB). Synthesis of [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d was achieved with an overall radiochemical yield (RCY) of 17.8 ± 1.5% ( n = 5) in 90 min, a significant improvement over prior methods (3-4% in 2-3 h). In vitro assays indicated that [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d bound with high affinity and immunoreactivity to HER2. In normal mice, when normalized to coinjected [125I]SGMIB-2Rs15d, the kidney uptake of [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d was 15- and 28-fold lower ( P < 0.001) than that seen for the noncleavable control ([18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-2Rs15d) at 1 and 3 h, respectively. Uptake of [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d in HER2-expressing SKOV-3 ovarian carcinoma xenografts implanted in athymic mice was about 80% of that seen for coinjected [125I]SGMIB-2Rs15d. On the other hand, kidney uptake was 5-6-fold lower, and as a result, tumor-to-kidney ratios were 4-fold higher for [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d than those for [125I]SGMIB-2Rs15d. SKOV-3 xenografts were clearly delineated even at 1 h after administration of [18F]AlF-NOTA-Tz-TCO-GK-2Rs15d by Micro-PET/CT imaging with even higher contrast observed thereafter. In conclusion, this strategy warrants further evaluation for labeling small proteins such as sdAbs because it offers the benefits of good radiochemical yields and enhanced tumor-to-normal tissue ratios, particularly in the kidney.
Project description:Radiolabeled bombesin (BBN) analogs that bind to the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) represent a topic of active investigation for the development of molecular probes for PET or SPECT of prostate cancer (PCa). RM1 and AMBA have been identified as the 2 most promising BBN peptides for GRPR-targeted cancer imaging and therapy. In this study, to develop a clinically translatable BBN-based PET probe, we synthesized and evaluated (18)F-AlF- (aluminum-fluoride) and (64)Cu-radiolabeled RM1 and AMBA analogs for their potential application in PET imaging of PCa.1,4,7-triazacyclononane, 1-glutaric acid-4,7 acetic acid (NODAGA)-conjugated RM1 and AMBA were synthesized and tested for their GRPR-binding affinities. The NODAGA-RM1 and NODAGA-AMBA probes were further radiolabeled with (64)Cu or (18)F-AlF and then evaluated in a subcutaneous PCa xenograft model (PC3) by small-animal PET imaging and biodistribution studies.NODAGA-RM1 and NODAGA-AMBA can be successfully synthesized and radiolabeled with (64)Cu and (18)F-AlF. (64)Cu- and (18)F-AlF-labeled NODAGA-RM1 demonstrated excellent serum stability and tumor-imaging properties in the in vitro stability assays and in vivo imaging studies. (64)Cu-NODAGA-RM1 exhibited tumor uptake values of 3.3 ± 0.38, 3.0 ± 0.76, and 3.5 ± 1.0 percentage injected dose per gram of tissue (%ID/g) at 0.5, 1.5, and 4 h after injection, respectively. (18)F-AlF-NODAGA-RM1 exhibited tumor uptake values of 4.6 ± 1.5, 4.0 ± 0.87, and 3.9 ± 0.48 %ID/g at 0.5, 1, and 2 h, respectively.The high-stability, efficient tumor uptake and optimal pharmacokinetic properties highlight (18)F-AlF-NODAGA-RM1 as a probe with great potential and clinical application for the PET imaging of prostate cancer.
Project description:Due to its ideal physical properties, fluorine-18 turns out to be a key radionuclide for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, for both preclinical and clinical applications. However, usual biomolecules radiofluorination procedures require the formation of covalent bonds with fluorinated prosthetic groups. This drawback makes radiofluorination impractical for routine radiolabeling, gallium-68 appearing to be much more convenient for the labeling of chelator-bearing PET probes. In response to this limitation, a recent expansion of the 18F chemical toolbox gave aluminum [18F]fluoride chemistry a real prominence since the late 2000s. This approach is based on the formation of an [18F][AlF]2+ cation, complexed with a 9-membered cyclic chelator such as NOTA, NODA or their analogs. Allowing a one-step radiofluorination in an aqueous medium, this technique combines fluorine-18 and non-covalent radiolabeling with the advantage of being very easy to implement. Since its first reports, [18F]AlF radiolabeling approach has been applied to a wide variety of potential PET imaging vectors, whether of peptidic, proteic, or small molecule structure. Most of these [18F]AlF-labeled tracers showed promising preclinical results and have reached the clinical evaluation stage for some of them. The aim of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview of [18F]AlF labeling applications through a description of the various [18F]AlF-labeled conjugates, from their radiosynthesis to their evaluation as PET imaging agents.
Project description:The ability to accurately and easily locate sentinel lymph nodes (LNs) with noninvasive imaging methods would assist in tumor staging and patient management. For this purpose, we developed a lymphatic imaging agent by mixing fluorine-18 aluminum fluoride-labeled NOTA (1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N',N''-triacetic acid)-conjugated truncated Evans blue ((18)F-AlF-NEB) and Evans blue (EB) dye. After local injection, both (18)F-AlF-NEB and EB form complexes with endogenous albumin in the interstitial fluid and allow for visualizing the lymphatic system. Positron emission tomography (PET) and/or optical imaging of LNs was performed in three different animal models including a hind limb inflammation model, an orthotropic breast cancer model, and a metastatic breast cancer model. In all three models, the LNs can be distinguished clearly by the apparent blue color and strong fluorescence signal from EB as well as a high-intensity PET signal from (18)F-AlF-NEB. The lymphatic vessels between the LNs can also be optically visualized. The easy preparation, excellent PET and optical imaging quality, and biosafety suggest that this combination of (18)F-AlF-NEB and EB has great potential for clinical application to map sentinel LNs and provide intraoperative guidance.