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1.  18F-click labeling of a bombesin antagonist with an alkyne-18F-ArBF3 -: in vivo PET imaging of tumors expressing the GRP-receptor 
A clickable alkyne-modified arylborimidine is rapidly converted in 15 minutes to a highly polar 18F-aryltrifluoroborate anion (18F-ArBF3 -) at high specific activity. Following labeling, the alkyne-18F-ArBF3 - was conjugated to the peptide bombesin (BBN) within 25 minutes in a second step without need for prior work-up making this one-pot-two-step method easy, user-friendly, and generally applicable. Bombesin was chosen to provide functional PET images of prostate cancer xenografts in mice of which there are few. Whereas BBN is labeled to provide some of the first in vivo tumor images based on this technique, click-labeling is recognized for its generality and broad substrate scope. Hence these results are likely to be useful for click labeling most peptides and other biomolecules.
PMCID: PMC3545365  PMID: 23342301
18F-labeling; PET imaging; click chemistry; bombesin imaging
2.  Combined SPECT and multidetector CT for prostate cancer evaluations 
111In-capromab pendetide is an imaging probe for noninvasive detection of prostate cancer dissemination, and can be difficult to interpret because of low photon statistics resulting in noisy images with limited anatomical precision. We examined if a 16-slice multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) combined with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) could increase the impact on the clinical management and improve confidence in SPECT image interpretations in comparison to a relatively low-mA (limited resolution) CT. 17 scans were reviewed from a SPECT combined with low-mA CT scanner; 21 scans were reviewed from a SPECT combined with 16-slice MDCT scanner. Reports of the clinical interpretations from the imaging studies, additional examinations performed by referring physicians as a follow-up to the imaging results, and long-term clinical and laboratory follow-ups were used to define confidence of the SPECT/CT readings and impact of the readings on the patient management. The impact was defined as: the occurrence of the 111In-capromab pendetide interpretation resulted in additional imaging studies or biopsies. MDCT improved the quality and confidence in the characterization of small lymph nodes with or without uptake of 111In-capromab pendetide. The increased confidence with MDCT in SPECT/CT readings was evident in all cases reviewed in this study, and the impact on the clinical management was higher (8 out of 21) using SPECT/MDCT than the impact using SPECT combined with low-mA CT (2 out of 17). The dual-modality SPECT/CT provides a quantifiable benefit when MDCT is used instead of low-mA CT, particularly for prostate cancer evaluations using 111In-capromab pendetide.
PMCID: PMC3260786  PMID: 22267999
Prostate cancer; capromab pendetide; SPECT/CT; MDCT; prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA)
3.  Survival after somatostatin based radiopeptide therapy with 90Y-DOTATOC vs. 90Y-DOTATOC plus 177Lu-DOTATOC in metastasized gastrinoma 
We aimed to explore the effects of 90Y-DOTATOC and 90Y-DOTATOC plus 177Lu-DOTATOC on survival of patients with metastasized gastrinoma. Patients with progressive metastasized gastrinoma were treated with repeated cycles of 90Y-DOTATOC or with cycles alternating between 90Y-DOTATOC and 177Lu-DOTATOC until tumor progression or permanent toxicity. Multivariable Cox regression analyses were used to study predictors of survival. A total of 36 patients were enrolled; 30 patients received 90Y-DOTATOC (median activity per patient 11.8GBq; range: 6.1-62.2GBq) and 6 patients received 90Y-DOTATOC plus 177Lu-DOTATOC (median activity per patient: 14.8GBq; range: 7.4-14.8GBq). Response was found in 26 patients (72.2%), including morphological (n=12, 33.3%), biochemical (n=14, 38.9%) and/or clinical response (n=6, 16.2%). A total of 21 patients (58.3%) experienced hematotoxicity grade 1/2, while 1 patient (2.8%) experienced hematotoxicity grade 3; no grade 4 hematotoxicity occurred. Furthermore, 2 patients (5.6%) developed grade 4 renal toxicity; no grade 5 renal toxicity occurred. Responders had a significantly longer median survival from time of enrollment than non-responders (45.1 months, range: 37.1-53.1 months vs. 12.6 months, range: 11.0-14.2, hazard ratio: 0.12 (0.027-0.52), p=0.005). Additionally, there was a trend towards longer median survival with 90Y-DOTATOC plus 177Lu-DOTATOC as compared to 90Y-DOTATOC alone (60.2 months, range: 19.8-100.6 months vs. 27.0 months, range: 4.0-50.0, hazard ratio: 0.21 (0.01-3.98), p=0.16). Response to 90Y-DOTATOC and 90Y-DOTATOC plus 177Lu-DOTATOC therapy is associated with a longer survival in patients with metastasized gastrinoma. Both treatment regimens are promising tools for management of progressive gastrinoma.
PMCID: PMC4299770  PMID: 25625026
Yttrium; lutetium; somatostatin; survival; gastrinoma
4.  18F-FDG-PET/CT and 18F-NaF-PET/CT in men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer 
To evaluate 18F-labeled-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG-) and 18F-labeled-sodium fluoride (18F-NaF-) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) as biomarkers in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Nine men (53-75 years) in a phase 1 trial of abiraterone and cabozantinib had 18F-FDG-PET/CT, 18F-NaF-PET/CT and standard imaging (99mTc-labeled-methylene-diphosphonate (99mTc-MDP) bone scan and abdominal/pelvic CT) at baseline and after 8 weeks of therapy. Baseline disease was classified as widespread 18F-FDG-avid, oligometastatic 18F-FDG-avid (1 site), or non-18F-FDG-avid. Metabolic response was classified using European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) criteria. Treatment response using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.1, Prostate Cancer Working Group 2 (PCWG2) guidelines and days on trial (DOT) were recorded. All men were followed for 1 year or until progression. Four men had 18F-FDG-avid disease: two with widespread (DOT 53 and 76) and two with oligometastatic disease (DOT 231 and still on trial after 742+ days). Five men had non-18F-FDG-avid disease; three remained stable or improved (2 still on trial while one discontinued for non-oncologic reasons; DOT 225-563+), and 2 progressed (DOT 285 and 532). Despite the small sample size, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a significant difference in progression free survival (PFS) between men with widespread 18F-FDG-avid, oligometastatic 18F-FDG-avid and non-18F-FDG-avid disease (p < 0.01). All men had 18F-NaF-avid disease. Neither 18F-NaF-avid disease extent nor intensity was predictive of treatment response. 18F-FDG-PET/CT may be superior to 18F-NaF-PET/CT and standard imaging in men with mCRPC on abiraterone and cabozantinib. 18F-FDG-PET/CT may have potential to stratify men into 3 groups (widespread vs. oligometastatic 18F-FDG-avid vs. non-18F-FDG-avid mCRPC) to tailor therapy. Further evaluation is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4299771  PMID: 25625029
PET/CT; FDG; NaF; prostate cancer; bone scan
5.  Assessment of vulnerable atherosclerotic and fibrotic plaques in coronary arteries using 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT 
Activated macrophages which express somatostatin receptor-2 (SSTR-2) play a vital role in rupture of the vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques, which result in death. 68Ga-DOTATATE binds to somatostatin receptors 2, and therefore, can serve as potential radiotracer to detect atherosclerotic plaques. The purpose of this study was to generate preliminary data with this agent in vulnerable or fibrotic atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries. We evaluated a total of 44 patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NET) who underwent 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT. In each subject, 7 segments in the coronary arteries were assessed, maximum SUV values and target-to-background ratios (TBRs) were calculated. The lesions detected by CT (a total of 308) were divided into 3 groups based on the Hounsfield unites (HU), and of which, 131 with HU less than 70 were classified as being normal (Control Group), 129 with HU 71-188 as fibrotic plaques (Group 2), and. 48 lesions with HU more than 188 as atherosclerotic plaques (Group 3). The mean TBR value in the normal group was 1.345 ± 0.58 while the mean TBR value in the fibrotic plaque group was 1.752 ± 1.50 (p 0.0043) and in atherosclerotic plaques group was (2.043 ± 1.76, p<0.0001). There was a significant correlation (p=0.0026) between 68Ga-DOTATATE uptake and the progression to formation of atherosclerotic plaques, based on HU. In patients with neuroendocrine tumors, 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT showed significantly increased uptake in the fibrotic and vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques compared to normal coronary arteries suggesting a potential role of this tracer for molecular assessment of coronary artery disease in this population.
PMCID: PMC4299775  PMID: 25625028
Atherosclerotic plaques; 68Ga-DOTATATE; somatostatin receptor; cardiovascular risk factors; macrophage
6.  Quantitative and qualitative comparison of continuous bed motion and traditional step and shoot PET/CT 
New developments in PET/CT technology have enabled the commercial availability of continuous bed motion (CBM) acquisition methods. This technology has some potential performance benefits compared to standard step and shoot (SS) imaging, however, this technology has not been assessed with regard to quantitative and image quality parameters compared to traditional SS techniques. This study seeks to compare clinically relevant quantitative and image quality parameters using CBM and SS data collection methods with the intent of providing assistance in making educated decisions regarding imaging protocol development when using CBM technology versus SS imaging.
PMCID: PMC4299776  PMID: 25625027
PET; CT; continuous bed motion; CBM
7.  Simultaneous hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate MRI and 18F-FDG-PET in cancer (hyperPET): feasibility of a new imaging concept using a clinical PET/MRI scanner 
In this paper we demonstrate, for the first time, the feasibility of a new imaging concept - combined hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) and 18F-FDG-PET imaging. This procedure was performed in a clinical PET/MRI scanner with a canine cancer patient. We have named this concept hyper PET. Intravenous injection of the hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate results in an increase of 13C-lactate, 13C-alanine and 13C-CO2 (13C-HCO3) resonance peaks relative to the tissue, disease and the metabolic state probed. Accordingly, with dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) and use of 13C-pyruvate it is now possible to directly study the Warburg Effect through the rate of conversion of 13C-pyruvate to 13C-lactate. In this study, we combined it with 18F-FDG-PET that studies uptake of glucose in the cells. A canine cancer patient with a histology verified local recurrence of a liposarcoma on the right forepaw was imaged using a combined PET/MR clinical scanner. PET was performed as a single-bed, 10 min acquisition, 107 min post injection of 310 MBq 18F-FDG. 13C-chemical shift imaging (CSI) was performed just after FDG-PET and 30 s post injection of 23 mL hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate. Peak heights of 13C-pyruvate and 13C-lactate were quantified using a general linear model. Anatomic 1H-MRI included axial and coronal T1 vibe, coronal T2-tse and axial T1-tse with fat saturation following gadolinium injection. In the tumor we found clearly increased 13C-lactate production, which also corresponded to high 18F-FDG uptake on PET. This is in agreement with the fact that glycolysis and production of lactate are increased in tumor cells compared to normal cells. Yet, most interestingly, also in the muscle of the forepaw of the dog high 18F-FDG uptake was observed. This was due to activity in these muscles prior to anesthesia, which was not accompanied by a similarly high 13C-lactate production. Accordingly, this clearly demonstrates how the Warburg Effect directly can be demonstrated by hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate MRSI. This was not possible with 18F-FDG-PET imaging due to inability to discriminate between causes of increased glucose uptake. We propose that this new concept of simultaneous hyperpolarized 13C-pyruvate MRSI and PET may be highly valuable for image-based non-invasive phenotyping of tumors. This methods may be useful for treatment planning and therapy monitoring.
PMCID: PMC4299777  PMID: 25625025
Cancer; DNP; hyperpolarized; 13C-pyruvate; MR; response monitoring; 18F-FDG-PET; PET/MR; molecular imaging
8.  PET imaging of apoptosis in tumor-bearing mice and rabbits after paclitaxel treatment with 18F-Labeled recombinant human His10-annexin V 
Monitoring response to chemo- or radiotherapy is of great importance in clinical practice. Apoptosis imaging serves as a very useful tool for the early evaluation of tumor response. The goal of this study was PET imaging of apoptosis with 18F-labeled recombinant human annexin V linked with 10 histidine tag (18F-rh-His10-annexin V) in nude mice bearing an A549 tumor and rabbits bearing a VX2 lung cancer after paclitaxel therapy. 18F-rh-His10-annexin V was prepared by conjugation of rh-His10-annexin V with N-succinimidyl 4-[18F]fluorobenzoate. Biodistribution was determined in mice by the dissection method and small-animal PET. Single-dose paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) was used to induce apoptosis in A549 and VX2 tumor models. 18F-rh-His10-annexin V was injected into A549 mice and VX rabbits to acquire dynamic and static PET images 72 h after paclitaxel treatment. The uptake of 18F-rh-His10-annexin V in apoptotic cells 4 h after induction was 6.45±0.52 fold higher than that in non-induced cells. High focal uptake of 18F-rh-His10-annexin V was visualized in A549 (SUVmax: 0.35±0.13) and VX2 (0.41±0.23) tumor models after paclitaxel treatment, whereas lower uptake was found in the corresponding tumors before treatment (A549 SUVmax: 0.04±0.02; VX2: 0.009±0.002). The apoptotic index was 75.61±11.56% in the treated VX2 cancer, much higher than that in the untreated VX2 (8.03±2.81%). This study demonstrated the feasibility of 18F-rh-His10-annexin V for the detection of apoptosis after chemotherapy in A549 and VX2 tumor models.
PMCID: PMC4299778  PMID: 25625024
Apoptosis; molecular imaging; recombinant human His10-annexin V; tumor response
9.  Hippocampal MR spectroscopic abnormalities in a cohort of syphilitic patients with HIV and neurosyphilis infection 
Co-infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and neurosyphilis (NS) has become a rising trend, but the extent of brain damage associated with the concomitant infections remains unknown. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) can evaluate metabolic changes underlying early brain infections. 25 syphilitic patients (7 HIV-positive with NS; 6 HIV-positive without NS; 5 HIV-negative with NS; 7 non-HIV, non-NS) and 17 healthy controls (HC) underwent single-voxel 1H-MRS in the bilateral hippocampi. Absolute concentrations of major metabolites were measured using a 3T MRI scanner. No significant structural abnormality was detected in all patients. However, metabolic changes were found in the left hippocampus of both the HIV-positive and NS subgroups, showing significantly higher choline (Cho), creatine (Cr) and myo-inositol (mI) compared to HC. In the right hippocampus, HIV-positive subgroup showed significantly higher Cr and reduced NAA, while NS subgroup only showed significantly reduced NAA compared to HC. The non-HIV, non-NS syphilitic subgroup showed no significant difference compared to HC. Substantial metabolic changes occurred in bilateral hippocampi in HIV and NS co-infections. NAA reduction might represent early neuronal damage, while mI/Cho elevation reflects gliosis/inflammatory changes. 1H-MRS could serve as a non-invasive tool to triage patients suspected of NS for lumbar puncture in non-HIV syphilitic patients.
PMCID: PMC4299779  PMID: 25625030
HIV; neurosyphilis; co-infection; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; hippocampus
10.  Core-based lipid nanoparticles as a nanoplatform for delivery of near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents 
Pyropheophorbide a (Pyro) is a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye and photosensitizer with high quantum yield that makes the dye suitable for tumor treatment both as an imaging and therapy agent. We have designed and synthesized a series of a Pyro-based NIR probes, based on the conjugation of Pyro with lipids. The nature of our probes requires the use of a lipophilic carrier to deliver the probes to cancer cell membranes. To address this, we have utilized lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) consisting of PEGylated lipids, which form the nanoparticle shell, and a lipid core. To endow the LNPs with targeting properties, nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) lipids were included in the composition that enables the non-covalent attachment of His-tag targeting proteins preserving their functional activity. We found that the nature of the core molecules influence the nanoparticle size, shelf-life and stability at physiological temperature. Two different Pyro-lipid conjugates were loaded either into the core or shell of the LNPs. The conjugates revealed differential ability to be accumulated in the cell membrane of the target cells with time. Thus, the modular organization of the core-shell LNPs allows facile adjustment of their composition with goal to fine tuning the nanoparticle properties for in vivo application.
PMCID: PMC4171838  PMID: 25250201
Lipid-based nanoparticles; near-infrared fluorescent probes; lipid-based fluorescent imaging agent; pyropheophorbide a
11.  Diagnosis of abnormal biliary copper excretion by positron emission tomography with targeting of 64Copper-asialofetuin complex in LEC rat model of Wilson’s disease 
Identification by molecular imaging of key processes in handling of transition state metals, such as copper (Cu), will be of considerable clinical value. For instance, the ability to diagnose Wilson’s disease with molecular imaging by identifying copper excretion in an ATP7B-dependent manner will be very significant. To develop highly effective diagnostic approaches, we hypothesized that targeting of radiocopper via the asialoglycoprotein receptor will be appropriate for positron emission tomography, and examined this approach in a rat model of Wilson’s disease. After complexing 64Cu to asialofetuin we studied handling of this complex compared with 64Cu in healthy LEA rats and diseased homozygous LEC rats lacking ATP7B and exhibiting hepatic copper toxicosis. We analyzed radiotracer clearance from blood, organ uptake, and biliary excretion, including sixty minute dynamic positron emission tomography recordings. In LEA rats, 64Cu-asialofetuin was better cleared from blood followed by liver uptake and greater biliary excretion than 64Cu. In LEC rats, 64Cu-asialofetuin activity cleared even more rapidly from blood followed by greater uptake in liver, but neither 64Cu-asialofetuin nor 64Cu appeared in bile. Image analysis demonstrated rapid visualization of liver after 64Cu-asialofetuin administration followed by decreased liver activity in LEA rats while liver activity progressively increased in LEC rats. Image analysis resolved this difference in hepatic activity within one hour. We concluded that 64Cu-asialofetuin complex was successfully targeted to the liver and radiocopper was then excreted into bile in an ATP7B-dependent manner. Therefore, hepatic targeting of radiocopper will be appropriate for improving molecular diagnosis and for developing drug/cell/gene therapies in Wilson’s disease.
PMCID: PMC4171840  PMID: 25250203
ATP7B; diagnosis; metal complex; positron emission tomography; radiocopper; therapy; Wilson’s disease
12.  Intrinsically radiolabelled [59Fe]-SPIONs for dual MRI/radionuclide detection 
Towards the development of iron oxide nanoparticles with intrinsically incorporated radionuclides for dual Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PET/MRI) and more recently of Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (SPECT/MRI), we have developed intrinsically radiolabeled [59Fe]-superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles ([59Fe]-SPIONs) as a proof of concept for an intrinsic dual probe strategy. 59Fe was incorporated into Fe3O4 nanoparticle crystal lattice with 92±3% efficiency in thermal decomposition synthesis. Multidentate poly(acrylic acid)-dopamine-poly(ethylene-glycol-2000) (PAA-DOP-PEG) ligands were designed and synthesized based on facile EDC chemistry and utilized to functionalize the [59Fe]-SPIONs. The transverse relaxivity of [59Fe]-SPIONs (97±3 s-1mM-1) was characterized and found to be similar to non-radioactive SPIONs (72±10 s-1mM-1), indicating that 59Fe incorporation does not alter the SPIONs’ MRI contrast properties. [59Fe]-SPIONs were used to evaluate the nanoparticle biodistribution by ex vivo gamma counting and MRI. Nude mice (n=15) were injected with [59Fe]-SPIONs and imaged at various time points with 7T small animal MRI scanner. Ex vivo biodistribution was evaluated by tissue-based gamma counting. MRI signal contrast qualitatively correlates with the %ID/g of [59Fe]-SPIONs, with high contrast in liver (45±6%), medium contrast in kidneys (21±5%), and low contrast in brain (4±6%) at 24 hours. This work demonstrates the synthesis and in vivo application of intrinsically radiolabeled [59Fe]-SPIONs for bimodal detection and provides a proof of concept for incorporation of both gamma- and positron-emitting inorganic radionuclides into the core of metal based MRI contrast agent nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC4171841  PMID: 25250204
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; intrinsic radiolabeling; biodistribution; PET/MRI; SPECT/MRI; molecular imaging; bimodal detection
13.  In vivo phage display selection of an ovarian cancer targeting peptide for SPECT/CT imaging 
The often fatal outcome of ovarian cancer (OC) is related to inadequate detection methods, which may be overcome by development of nuclear imaging agents. Cancer targeting peptides have been identified using in vivo bacteriophage (phage) display technology; however, the majority of these ligands target tumor vasculature. To overcome this problem, a two-tier phage display method was employed to select an ovarian cancer targeting peptide with good pharmacokinetic and imaging properties. A fUSE5 15-amino acid peptide library was screened against xenografted human OC SKOV-3 tumors in mice, which was followed by selection against enriched SKOV-3 cells. The selected peptide RSLWSDFYASASRGP (J18) was synthesized with a GSG-spacer and a 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclodecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) chelator and radiolabeled with 111In. SKOV-3 xenografted mice were used to evaluate the biodistribution and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging capabilities of the radiolabeled peptide. Competitive binding experiments using 111In-DOTA-GSG-J18 indicated that the peptide displayed a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value of 10.5 ± 1.1 μM. Biodistribution studies revealed that tumor uptake was 1.63 ± 0.68, 0.60 ± 0.32, 0.31 ± 0.12 and 0.10 ± 0.02% injected dose/g at 30 min, 1 h, 2 h and 4 h post-injection of 111In-DOTA-GSG-J18, respectively. SPECT/CT imaging demonstrated good tumor uptake and minimal background binding. This study demonstrated successful utilization of a two-tier phage display selection process to identify an ovarian cancer avid peptide with excellent SPECT/CT imaging capabilities.
PMCID: PMC4171842  PMID: 25250205
Ovarian cancer; peptide; phage display; SPECT imaging
14.  Assessment of blood flow with 68Ga-DOTA PET in experimental inflammation: a validation study using 15O-water 
Increased blood flow and vascular permeability are key events in inflammation. Based on the fact that Gadolinium-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N‘,N‘‘,N‘‘‘-tetraacetic acid (Gd-DOTA) is commonly used in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of blood flow (perfusion), we evaluated the feasibility of its Gallium-68 labeled DOTA analog (68Ga-DOTA) for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of blood flow in experimental inflammation. Adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats with turpentine oil induced sterile skin/muscle inflammation were anesthetized with isoflurane, and imaged under rest and adenosine-induced hyperemia by means of dynamic 2-min Oxygen-15 labeled water (H2 15O) and 30-min 68Ga-DOTA PET. For the quantification of PET data, regions of interest (ROIs) were defined in the focus of inflammation, healthy muscle, myocardium and heart left ventricle. Radioactivity concentration in the ROIs versus time after injection was determined for both tracers and blood flow was calculated using image-derived input. According to the H2 15O PET, blood flow was 0.69 ± 0.15 ml/min/g for inflammation and 0.15 ± 0.03 ml/min/g for muscle during rest. The blood flow remained unchanged during adenosine-induced hyperemia 0.67 ± 0.11 and 0.12 ± 0.03 ml/min/g for inflammation and muscle, respectively, indicating that adenosine has little effect on blood flow in peripheral tissues in rats. High focal uptake of 68Ga-DOTA was seen at the site of inflammation throughout the 30-min PET imaging. According to the 68Ga-DOTA PET, blood flow measured as the blood-to-tissue transport rate (K1) was 0.60 ± 0.07 ml/min/g for inflammation and 0.14 ± 0.06 ml/min/g for muscle during rest and 0.63 ± 0.08 ml/min/g for inflammation and 0.09 ± 0.04 ml/min/g for muscle during adenosine-induced hyperemia. The H2 15O-based blood flow and 68Ga-DOTA-based K1 values correlated well (r = 0.94, P < 0.0001). These results show that 68Ga-DOTA PET imaging is useful for the quantification of increased blood flow induced by inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4171843  PMID: 25250206
Blood flow; DOTA; Gallium-68; inflammation; Oxygen-15 water; PET; rat
15.  Comparative performance of PET tracers in biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer: a critical analysis of literature 
Positron emission tomography (PET) with a number of tracers targeted to particular biological features of cancer has been explored for the imaging evaluation of patients with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer after curative primary treatment. However, these reports are often heterogeneous in study design, patient cohorts, standards of reference for the imaging findings, data analysis, and data reporting. The aim of our study was to address these limitations by extracting and re-analyzing the PET detection data only from studies that satisfied pre-defined sets of patient selection criteria and verification standards. Our investigation analyzed the effects of 5 tracers (18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), 11C-acetate (ACET), 11C- or 18F-choline (CHOL), anti-1-amino-3-18F-fluorocyclobutane-1-carboxylic acid (FACBC), and radiolabeled ligand targeted to prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)), 2 treatment types (radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy), and whether the detected disease was local or metastatic, including lesion type (bone, lymph node, soft tissue). FDG exhibited the lowest detection rate for any suspected disease. ACET tended to be advantageous over CHOL in detecting local recurrence and lymph node lesions, even though the difference was not statistically significant. FACBC had greater likelihood of detecting local recurrence, when compared to CHOL, though this difference was not statistically significant. PSMA tended to show a higher proportion of patients with suspected disease compared to the other four tracers. Patients treated with radiation therapy had greater odds of displaying local recurrence on PET than those treated with radical prostatectomy. We also provide suggestions for future investigations that facilitate communication and the impact of the findings.
PMCID: PMC4171844  PMID: 25250207
PET; prostate; cancer; biochemical; recurrence
16.  Comparison between preoperative and intraoperative injection of 99mTc Dextran-500 for sentinel lymph node localization in breast cancer 
A retrospective study was conducted from a review of the medical records of patients with early-stage, invasive breast cancer who underwent surgical treatment and sentinel node biopsy with a radiotracer from January 2008 to August 2012 at a single institution (221 patients included). The patients were grouped according to the time of 99mTc Dextran-500 injection, which was preoperatively (with lymphoscintigraphy) (81 patients) or intraoperatively (140 patients). The purpose of the report is to compare the results of sentinel node biopsy of early-stage breast cancer patients who were subjected to intraoperative 99mTc Dextran-500 injections with the patients who received preoperative injections. The following parameters were analyzed: clinical tumor staging, histological and pathological results, size and number of tumor foci, peritumoral vascular invasion, number of lymph nodes removed, size of lymph node metastasis and hormone receptor expression.There were no differences in sentinel lymph node localization whether 99mTc Dextran-500 was injected preoperatively or intraoperatively.
PMCID: PMC4171845  PMID: 25250208
Sentinel lymph node; breast cancer; 99mTc Dextran-500; intraoperative injection; preoperative injection; lymphoscintigraphy
17.  Development of a peptide by phage display for SPECT imaging of resistance-susceptible breast cancer 
Personalized medicine is at the forefront of cancer diagnosis and therapy. Molecularly targeted therapies such as trastuzumab and tamoxifen have enhanced prognosis of patients with cancers expressing ERBB2 and the estrogen receptor, respectively. One obstacle to targeted therapy is the development of resistance. A targeted peptide that could distinguish resistance-susceptible cancer would aid in treatment. BT-474 human breast cancer cells can be resistant to both tamoxifen and trastuzumab, and may serve as a model for malignancies in which targeted therapy may not work. Bacteriophage (phage) display is a combinatorial technology that has been used to isolate peptides that target a specific cancer subtype. It was hypothesized that in vivo phage display could be used to select a peptide for SPECT imaging of BT-474 human breast cancer xenografts. A phage library displaying random 15 amino acid peptides was subjected to four rounds of selection, after which 14 clones were analyzed for BT-474 binding and specificity. One phage clone, 51, demonstrated superior binding and specificity, and the displayed peptide was synthesized for in vitro characterization. Peptide 51 bound specifically to BT-474 cells with an EC50 = 2.33 µM and was synthesized as a DOTA-conjugated peptide and radiolabeled with 111In for in vitro and in vivo analysis. The radiolabeled peptide exhibited an IC50 = 16.1 nM to BT-474 cells and its biodistribution and SPECT imaging in BT-474 xenografted mice was analyzed. Although tumor uptake was moderate at 0.11% ID/g, SPECT imaging revealed a distinct tumor vasculature binding pattern. It was discovered that peptide 51 had an identical 5 amino acid N-terminal sequence to a peptide, V1, which bound to Nrp1, a tumor vasculature protein. Peptide 51 and V1 were examined for binding to target cells, and 51 bound both target and endothelial cells, while V1 only bound endothelial cells. Truncated versions of 51 did not bind BT-474 cells, demonstrating that the targeting ability of 51 was independent of the homologous V1 sequence. These results demonstrate that in vivo phage display can effectively identify a peptide that specifically targets a breast cancer cell line that is susceptible to targeted therapy resistance.
PMCID: PMC4138138  PMID: 25143862
Peptide; phage display; molecular imaging; breast cancer
18.  Feasibility of simultaneous PET/MR in diet-induced atherosclerotic minipig: a pilot study for translational imaging 
Novel hybrid 18-fluoro-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) based positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown promise for characterization of atherosclerotic plaques clinically. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the method in a pre-clinical model of diet-induced atherosclerosis, based on the Göttingen minipig. Using 18F-FDG PET/MRI the goal was to develop and create a new imaging method in an in vivo animal model for translational studies of atherosclerosis. We used a strategy of multisequence MRI for optimal anatomical imaging of the abdominal aortas of the pigs (n=4): T1-weighted turbo spin-echo (T1-TSE), T2-weighted turbo spin-echo (T2-TSE) and proton density imaging with and without fat saturation. 18F-FDG PET emission data were collected from a single bed position of the abdominal aorta in 3D mode for either 10 (n=4) or 10 and 20 minutes (n=2) to measure glycolysis as given by standardized uptake values (SUV). Ex vivo en face evaluation of aortas from an atherosclerotic animal illustrated plaque distribution macroscopically, compared to a lean control animal. Although T2-TSE weighted imaging was most consistent, no one MRI sequence was preferable and superior to another for visualization and identification of the abdominal aorta. We found poor correlation between SUVs obtained from 10 and 20 minutes of reconstructed PET emission data. This can most likely be ascribed to intestinal movement. In conclusion multisequence MRI is recommended for optimal imaging of the abdominal aorta using MRI. Furthermore we found that 10 minutes of PET emission data seems adequate. This is the first study to demonstrate that the method of 18F-FDG PET/MRI is feasible in minipig models of atherosclerosis, and therefore relevant in larger prospective studies. Perspectives of the method include correlation to e.g. aortic immunohistochemistry findings and a range of genomic and proteomic analyses.
PMCID: PMC4138139  PMID: 25143863
Atherosclerosis; novel model; Göttingen minipig; positron emission tomography; magnetic resonance imaging
19.  A pilot study in epilepsy patients using simultaneous PET/MR 
Integrated PET/MR with simultaneous acquisition may improve the identification of pathologic findings in patients. This pilot study evaluated metabolic activity differences between epilepsy patients and healthy controls and directly correlated FDG uptake with MR regional abnormality. Epilepsy patients (n=11) and controls (n=6) were imaged on a whole-body simultaneous PET/MR scanner. After FDG injection, simultaneous images were acquired for 60 minutes. Statistical analyses on SUV values (over 117 brain regions, including left and right, for 96 cortical and 21 subcortical regions) derived from three normalization methods, by individual subject’s mean cortical, white matter or global brain, were compared between groups. The asymmetry was compared. T2, T1 and PET co-registered images were also used for lesion detection and correlation of PET and MR regional abnormality. Left and right postcentral gyri were found to be consistently hypermetabolic regions, while right temporal pole and planum polare were consistently hypometabolic regions by all three normalization methods. Using the asymmetry index (AI > 10% or SUV ratios > 1.2), more metabolic asymmetry regions were detected in patients than in controls, with 96.2% agreement. The presence of hippocampal abnormalities or cortical tubers detected via T2 FLAIR in patients correlated well with the hypometabolism detected via FDG-PET. Our results showed specific patterns of metabolic abnormality and asymmetry over 117 brain regions in epilepsy patients, as compared to controls, suggest that simultaneous PET/MR imaging provides a useful tool to help understand etiopathogenesis and localize seizure foci.
PMCID: PMC4138140  PMID: 25143864
Epilepsy; simultaneous PET/MR; FDG; asymmetry; hypermetabolism; hypometabolism
20.  Clinical impact of FDG-PET/CT on colorectal cancer staging and treatment strategy 
FDG-PET/CT is rarely used for initial staging of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Surgical resection of primary tumor and isolated metastases may result in long-term survival or presumed cure, whereas disseminated disease contraindicates operation. We analyzed a retrospective material to elucidate the potential value of FDG-PET/CT for staging of CRC. Data were retrieved from 67 consecutive patients (24-84 years) with histopathologically proven CRC who had undergone FDG-PET/CT in addition to conventional imaging for initial staging. Treatment plans before and after FDG-PET/CT were compared and patients divided as follows: (A) Patients with a change in therapy following FDG-PET/CT and (B) Patients without a change following FDG-PET/CT. Sixty-two patients had colon and five had rectal cancer. Of these, 20 (30%; CI 20.2-41.7) belonged to group A, whereas 47 (70%; CI 58.3-79.8) fell in group B. In conclusion, FDG-PET/CT changed treatment plan in 30% of cases. In ⅓ of these there was either a change from intended curative to palliative therapy or vice versa, while in the remaining ⅔ the pattern was more mixed. Thus, even in a retrospective routine material there were substantial changes in management strategy following FDG-PET/CT for staging in CRC.
PMCID: PMC4138141  PMID: 25143865
FDG-PET/CT; colorectal cancer; clinical impact; treatment strategy
21.  Initial in vivo PET imaging of 5-HT1A receptors with 3-[18F]mefway 
4-trans-[18F]Mefway is a PET radiotracer with high affinity for 5-HT1A receptors. Our preliminary work indicated the positional isomer, 3-[18F]mefway, would be suitable for PET imaging of 5-HT1A receptors. We now compare the in vivo behaviour of 3-mefway with 4-mefway to evaluate 3-[18F]mefway as a potential 5-HT1A PET radiotracer. Two male rhesus macaques were given bolus injections of both 3- and 4-trans-[18F]mefway in separate experiments. 90 minute dynamic PET scans were acquired. TACs were extracted in the mesial temporal lobe (MTL) and caudal anterior cingulate gyrus (cACg). The cerebellum (CB) was used as a reference region. In vivo behavior of the radiotracers in the CB was compared based upon the ratio of normalized PET uptake for 3- and 4-trans-[18F]mefway. Specific binding was compared by examining MTL/CB and cACg/CB ratios. The subject-averaged ratio of 3-[18F]mefway to 4-trans-[18F]mefway in the cerebellum was 0.96 for 60-90 minutes. MTL/CB reached plateaus of ~2.7 and ~6 by 40 minutes and 90 minutes for 3- and 4-trans-[18F]mefway, respectively. cACg/CB reached plateaus of ~2.5 and ~6 by 40 minutes and 70 minutes for 3- and 4-trans-[18F]mefway, respectively. The short pseudoequilibration times and sufficient uptake of 3-[18F]mefway may be useful in studies requiring short scan times. Furthermore, the similar nondisplaceable clearance in the CB to 4-trans-[18F]mefway suggests the lower BPND of 3-[18F]mefway is due to a lower affinity. The lower affinity of 3-[18F]mefway may make it useful for measuring changes in endogenous 5-HT levels, however, this remains to be ascertained.
PMCID: PMC4138142  PMID: 25143866
5-HT1A; PET; serotonin; mefway
22.  Peptide targeted high-resolution molecular imaging of prostate cancer with MRI 
Non-invasive accurate detection of prostate cancer is critical for clinical management of the disease. Molecular MRI has a potential for accurate detection of prostate cancer with high spatial resolution. Fibronectin is a hallmark of epithelial-mesenchymal transition occurred in aggressive prostate cancer and highly expressed in malignant tumors. A pentapeptide CREKA targeted contrast agent CREKA-dL-(DOTA-Gd)4 was synthesized and evaluated to target fibrin-fibronectin complexes in tumor extracellular matrix for molecular MRI of prostate cancer. The contrast agent was synthesized by solid-phase peptide synthesis. The T1 relaxivity of CREKA-(DOTA-Gd)4 at 1.5 T was 33.2 mM-1s-1 per molecule (8.3 per Gd). The fluorescence imaging showed that CREKA specifically bound to orthotopic PC3 prostate tumor in athymic nude mice. Strong enhancement was observed in the tumor tissue injected with CREKA-(DOTA-Gd)4 in the first 5 minutes post-injection before MR signal became visible in the bladder at a low dose of 0.03 mmol-Gd/kg. The targeted contrast agent exhibited minimal Gd retention in the main organs and tissues 2 days after injection. The peptide targeted contrast agent CREKA-(DOTA-Gd)4 is promising for high-resolution molecular MRI of prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4171839  PMID: 25250202
Molecular imaging; MRI; prostate cancer; peptide; targeted contrast agent
23.  Relationship between uptake of a radioiodinated quinazoline derivative and radiosensitivity in non-small cell lung cancer 
The aim of this study was to determine whether the uptake of radioiodinated 6-(3-morpholinopropoxy)-7-ethoxy-4-(3’-iodophenoxy) quinazoline ([125I]PYK) could predict the response of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to radiotherapy in vitro. Four NSCLC cell lines, PC9, HCC827, A549, and H1975 were used. Cells were irradiated with doses ranging from 2 Gy to 8 Gy and/or exposed to 1 μM gefitinib. The effects of radiation and gefitinib were assessed by the CCK-8 assay and confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunoflorescence microscopy. The uptake of [125I]PYK was determined by incubating cells with a tracer. The cell cycle was assessed by flow cytometry. The expression of EGFR was measured by western blotting. The results obtained revealed that the uptake of [125I]PYK was higher in PC9 and HCC827 cells than in A549 and H1975 cells. PC9 cells and HCC827 cells were also more radiosensitive than A549 and H1975 cells. The gefitinib pretreatment reduced the S phase fraction and enhanced radiation effects in PC9 and HCC827 cells. These results indicate that the uptake of [125I]PYK is related to the effects of radiation in NSCLC cells. Radioiodinated PYK may be useful in predicting the response of NSCLC in patients to radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4074495  PMID: 24982815
[125I]PYK; irradiation; gefitinib; EGFR; NSCLC
24.  Cyclotron production of 68Ga via the 68Zn(p,n)68Ga reaction in aqueous solution 
The objective of the present work is to extend the applicability of the solution target approach to the production of 68Ga using a low energy cyclotron. Since the developed method does not require solid target infrastructure, it offers a convenient alternative to 68Ge/68Ga generators for the routine production of 68Ga. A new solution target with enhanced heat exchange capacity was designed and utilized with dual foils of Al (0.20 mm) and Havar (0.038 mm) separated by helium cooling to degrade the proton energy to ~14 MeV. The water-cooled solution target insert was made of Ta and its solution holding capacity (1.6 mL) was reduced to enhance heat transfer. An isotopically enriched (99.23%) 1.7 M solution of 68Zn nitrate in 0.2 N nitric acid was utilized in a closed target system. After a 30 min irradiation at 20 μA, the target solution was unloaded to a receiving vessel and the target was rinsed with 1.6 mL water, which was combined with the target solution. An automated module was used to pass the solution through a cation-exchange column (AG-50W-X8, 200-400 mesh, hydrogen form) which efficiently trapped zinc and gallium isotopes. 68Zn was subsequently eluted with 30 mL of 0.5 N HBr formulated in 80% acetone without any measurable loss of 68Ga. 68Ga was eluted with 7 mL of 3 N HCl solution with 92-96% elution efficiency. The radionuclidic purity was determined using an HPGe detector. Additionally, ICP-MS was employed to analyze for non-radioactive metal contaminants. The product yield was 192.5 ± 11.0 MBq/μ·h decay-corrected to EOB with a total processing time of 60-80 min. The radionuclidic purity of 68Ga was found to be >99.9%, with the predominant contaminant being 67Ga. The ICP-MS analysis showed small quantities of Ga, Fe, Cu, Ni and Zn in the final product, with 68Ga specific activity of 5.20-6.27 GBq/μg. Depending upon the user requirements, 68Ga production yield can be further enhanced by increasing the 68Zn concentration in the target solution and extending the irradiation time. In summary, a simple and efficient method of 68Ga production was developed using low energy cyclotron and a solution target. The developed methodology offers a cost-effective alternative to the 68Ge/68Ga generators for the production of 68Ga.
PMCID: PMC4074496  PMID: 24982816
68Ga; cyclotron targetry; solution target
25.  Preclinical evaluation of 111In-DTPA-INCA-X anti-Ku70/Ku80 monoclonal antibody in prostate cancer 
The aim of this investigation was to assess the Ku70/Ku80 complex as a potential target for antibody imaging of prostate cancer. We evaluated the in vivo and ex vivo tumor targeting and biodistribution of the 111In-labeled human internalizing antibody, INCA-X (111In-DTPA-INCA-X antibody), in NMRI-nude mice bearing human PC-3, PC-3M-Lu2 or DU145 xenografts. DTPA-conjugated, non-labeled antibody was pre-administered at different time-points followed by a single intravenous injection of 111In-DTPA-INCA-X. At 48, 72 and 96 h post-injection, tissues were harvested, and the antibody distribution was determined by measuring radioactivity. Preclinical SPECT/CT imaging of mice with and without the predose was performed at 48 hours post-injection of labeled DTPA-INCA-X. Biodistribution of the labeled antibody showed enriched activity in tumor, spleen and liver. Animals pre-administered with DTPA-INCA-X showed increased tumor uptake and blood content of 111In-DTPA-INCA-X with reduced splenic and liver uptake. The in vitro and in vivo data presented show that the 111In-labeled INCA-X antibody is internalized into prostate cancer cells and by pre-administering non-labeled DTPA-INCA-X, we were able to significantly reduce the off target binding and increase the 111In-DTPA-INCA-X mAb uptake in PC-3, PC-3M-Lu2 and DU145 xenografts. The results are encouraging and identifying the Ku70/Ku80 antigen as a target is worth further investigation for functional imaging of prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4074497  PMID: 24982817
Ku80/Ku80; INCA-X monoclonal antibody; prostate cancer; tumor targeting; preclinical SPECT/CT

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