PET of tumors expressing gastrin-releasing peptide receptor with an 18F-labeled bombesin analog

I. Dijkgraaf, G. Franssen, W. McBride, C. D'Souza, P. Laverman, C. Smith, D. Goldenberg, W. Oyen and O. Boerman

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Jun, 2012



The gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) is overexpressed in human prostate cancer. Bombesin (BBN) is a neurotransmitter of 14 amino acids and binds with selectivity and with high affinity to GRPRs. We have synthesized a NOTA-conjugated bombesin derivative, NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2), to label this analog with (18)F using the new Al(18)F method. In this study, the GRPR-targeting potential of (18)F-labeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) was studied using (68)Ga-NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) as a reference.The NOTA-conjugated bombesin analog was synthesized and radiolabeled with (68)Ga or (18)F. For (18)F labeling, we used our new 1-pot, 1-step method. The labeled product was purified by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. The log P values of the radiotracers were determined. The tumor-targeting characteristics of the compounds were assessed in mice with subcutaneously growing PC-3 xenografts. GRPR-binding specificity was studied by coinjection of an excess of unlabeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2). Small-animal PET/CT images were acquired.NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) could be efficiently labeled with (18)F or with (68)Ga. NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) was labeled with (18)F in a single step, with 50\%-90\% yield. Radiolabeling, including purification, was performed in 45 min and resulted in a specific activity of greater than 10 GBq/μmol. The log P values of (18)F- and (68)Ga-labeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) were -1.47 ± 0.05 and -1.98 ± 0.03, respectively. In mice, both radiolabeled compounds cleared rapidly from the blood (<0.07 percentage injected dose per gram at 1 h after injection), mainly via the kidneys. At 1 h after injection, the uptake of (18)F- and (68)Ga-labeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) in the PC-3 tumors was 2.15 ± 0.55 and 1.24 ± 0.26 percentage injected dose per gram, respectively. GRPR-binding specificity was demonstrated by reduced tumor uptake of radiolabeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) after coinjection of a 100-fold excess of unlabeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) peptide. The accumulation of (18)F-NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) in the subcutaneous PC-3 tumors could be visualized via small-animal PET.NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) could be labeled rapidly and efficiently with (18)F using a 1-pot, 1-step method. Radiolabeled NOTA-8-Aoc-BBN(7-14)NH(2) specifically accumulated in the GRPR-expressing PC-3 tumors and should be evaluated clinically.