In vitro and in vivo evaluation of a18F-labeled high affinity NOTA conjugated bombesin antagonist as a PET ligand for GRPR-targeted tumor imaging

Zohreh Varasteh, Ola Åberg, Irina Velikyan, Gunnar Lindeberg, Jens Sörensen, Mats Larhed, Gunnar Antoni, Mattias Sandström, Vladimir Tolmachev, Anna Orlova

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37 Citations (Scopus)


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-NH 2, RM26) conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N′,N″- triacetic acid (NOTA) via a diethylene glycol (PEG2) spacer (NOTA-P2-RM26) labeled with 68Ga and 111In. We found that this conjugate has favorable properties for in vivo imaging of GRPR-expression. The focus of this study was to develop a 18F-labelled PET agent to visualize GRPR. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with 18F using aluminum-fluoride chelation. Stability, in vitro binding specificity and cellular processing tests were performed. The inhibition efficiency (IC 50) of the [natF]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 was compared to that of the natGa-loaded peptide using 125I-Tyr4-BBN as the displacement radioligand. The pharmacokinetics and in vivo binding specificity of the compound were studied. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with 18F 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. [natF]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 [ 18F]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 [18F]AlF-NOTA-P2- RM26 is a promising candidate for PET imaging of GRPR in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81932
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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