Al18F-Labeling Of Heat-Sensitive Biomolecules for Positron Emission Tomography Imaging
The development of molecular probes based on novel engineered protein constructs is under active investigation due to the great potential of this generalizable strategy for imaging a variety of tumor targets. In this report, human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2)-binding Affibody molecules were radiolabeled with 64Cu and their imaging ability was further evaluated in tumor mice models to understand the promise and limitations of such probes. The anti-HER2 Affibody molecules in monomeric (ZHER2:477) and dimeric [(ZHER2:477)2] forms were site specifically modified with the maleimide-functionalized chelator, 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7-tris(acetic acid)-10-acetate mono (N-ethylmaleimide amide) (Mal-DOTA). The resulting DOTA–Affibody conjugates were radiolabeled with 64Cu and evaluated in nude mice bearing subcutaneous SKOV3 tumors. Biodistribution experiments showed that tumor uptake values of 64Cu-DOTA-ZHER2:477 and 64Cu-DOTA-(ZHER2:477)2 were 6.12 ± 1.44% and 1.46 ± 0.50% ID/g, respectively, in nude mice (n = 3 each) at 4 h postinjection. Moreover, 64Cu-labeled monomer exhibited significantly higher tumor/blood ratio than that of radiolabeled dimeric counterpart at all time points examined in this study. MicroPET imaging of 64Cu-DOTA-ZHER2:477 in SKOV3 tumor mice clearly showed good and specific tumor localization. This study demonstrates that 64Cu-labeled ZHER2:477 is a promising targeted molecular probe for imaging HER2 receptor expression in living mice. Further work is needed to improve the excretion properties, hence dosimetry and imaging efficacy, of the radiometal-based probe.