We have previously reported that 18F-FB-E[c(RGDyK)]2 (18F-FRGD2) allows quantitative PET imaging of integrin αvβ3 expression. However, the potential clinical translation was hampered by the relatively low radiochemical yield. The goal of this study was to improve the radiolabeling yield, without compromising the tumor targeting efficiency and in vivo kinetics, by incorporating a hydrophilic bifunctional mini-PEG spacer.
18F-FB-mini-PEG-E[c(RGDyK)]2 (18F-FPRGD2) was synthesized by coupling N-succinimidyl-4-18F-fluorobenzoate (18F-SFB) with NH2-mini-PEG-E[c(RGDyK)]2 (denoted as PRGD2). In vitro receptor binding affinity, metabolic stability, and integrin αvβ3 specificity of the new tracer 18F-FPRGD2 were assessed. The diagnostic value of 18F-FPRGD2 was evaluated in subcutaneous U87MG glioblastoma xenografted mice and in c-neu transgenic mice by quantitative microPET imaging studies.
The decay-corrected radiochemical yield based on 18F-SFB was more than 60% with radiochemical purity of >99%. 18F-FPRGD2 had high receptor binding affinity, metabolic stability, and integrin αvβ3-specific tumor uptake in the U87MG glioma xenograft model comparable to those of 18F-FRGD2. The kidney uptake was appreciably lower for 18F-FPRGD2 compared with 18F-FRGD2 [2.0±0.2%ID/ g for 18F-FPRGD2 vs 3.0±0.2%ID/g for 18F-FRGD2 at 1 h post injection (p.i.)]. The uptake in all the other organs except the urinary bladder was at background level. 18F-FPRGD2 also exhibited excellent tumor uptake in c-neu oncomice (3.6±0.1%ID/g at 30 min p.i.).
Incorporation of a mini-PEG spacer significantly improved the overall radiolabeling yield of 18F-FPRGD2. 18F-FPRGD2 also had reduced renal uptake and similar tumor targeting efficacy as compared with 18F-FRGD2. Further testing and clinical translation of 18F-FRGD2 are warranted.