Cyclic versus Noncyclic Chelating Scaffold for 89Zr-Labeled ZEGFR:2377 Affibody Bioconjugates Targeting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Overexpression

Dominik Summer, Javad Garousi, Maryam Oroujeni, Bogdan Mitran, Ken G. Andersson, Anzhelika Vorobyeva, John Löfblom, Anna Orlova, Vladimir Tolmachev, Clemens Decristoforo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Zirconium-89 is an emerging radionuclide for positron emission tomography (PET) especially for biomolecules with slow pharmacokinetics as due to its longer half-life, in comparison to fluorine-18 and gallium-68, imaging at late time points is feasible. Desferrioxamine B (DFO), a linear bifunctional chelator (BFC) is mostly used for this radionuclide so far but shows limitations regarding stability. Our group recently reported on fusarinine C (FSC) with similar zirconium-89 complexing properties but potentially higher stability related to its cyclic structure. This study was designed to compare FSC and DFO head-to-head as bifunctional chelators for 89Zr-radiolabeled EGFR-targeting ZEGFR:2377 affibody bioconjugates. FSC-ZEGFR:2377 and DFO-ZEGFR:2377 were evaluated regarding radiolabeling, in vitro stability, specificity, cell uptake, receptor affinity, biodistribution, and microPET-CT imaging. Both conjugates were efficiently labeled with zirconium-89 at room temperature but radiochemical yields increased substantially at elevated temperature, 85 °C. Both 89Zr-FSC-ZEGFR:2377 and 89Zr-DFO-ZEGFR:2377 revealed remarkable specificity, affinity and slow cell-line dependent internalization. Radiolabeling at 85 °C showed comparable results in A431 tumor xenografted mice with minor differences regarding blood clearance, tumor and liver uptake. In comparison 89Zr-DFO-ZEGFR:2377, radiolabeled at room temperature, showed a significant difference regarding tumor-to-organ ratios. MicroPET-CT imaging studies of 89Zr-FSC-ZEGFR:2377 as well as 89Zr-DFO-ZEGFR:2377 confirmed these findings. In summary we were able to show that FSC is a suitable alternative to DFO for radiolabeling of biomolecules with zirconium-89. Furthermore, our findings indicate that 89Zr-radiolabeling of DFO conjugates at higher temperature reduces off-chelate binding leading to significantly improved tumor-to-organ ratios and therefore enhancing image contrast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • affibody
  • DFO
  • EGFR
  • FSC
  • PET
  • zirconium-89

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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