Copper-64-diacetyl-bis (N4-methylthiosemicarbazone) accumulates in rich regions of CD133+ highly tumorigenic cells in mouse colon carcinoma

Yukie Yoshii, Takako Furukawa, Yasushi Kiyono, Ryo Watanabe, Atsuo Waki, Tetsuya Mori, Hiroshi Yoshii, Myungmi Oh, Tatsuya Asai, Hidehiko Okazawa, Michael J Welch, Yasuhisa Fujibayashi
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 2010, 37 (4): 395-404

INTRODUCTION: (64)Cu-diacetyl-bis (N(4)-methylthiosemicarbazone) ((64)Cu-ATSM) is a potential imaging agent of hypoxic tumor for use with PET. Recent literature demonstrated that cancer cells expressing CD133, which is a frequently used marker for so-called cancer stem cells or cancer stem cell-like cells (collectively referred to here as CSCs), contribute to tumor's therapeutic resistance and metastasis ability. Culturing under hypoxia is also reported to enlarge the proportion of CD133(+) cells, which would indicate survival advantage of CD133(+) cells under hypoxia. Here, we investigated the relationships between (64)Cu-ATSM accumulation and existence of CD133(+) cells using mouse colon carcinoma (colon-26) tumor.

METHODS: Intratumor distribution of (64)Cu-ATSM and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)FDG) was compared with immunohistochemical staining for CD133 with a colon-26 model. In vitro characterization of CD133(+) colon-26 cells was also performed.

RESULTS: In colon-26 tumors, (64)Cu-ATSM localized preferentially in regions with a high density of CD133(+) cells. The percentage of CD133(+) cells was 11-fold higher in (64)Cu-ATSM high-uptake regions compared with (18)FDG high- (but (64)Cu-ATSM low-) uptake regions. CD133(+) colon-26 cells showed characteristics previously linked with CSCs in other cancer cell lines, such as high colony-forming ability, high tumor-initiating ability and enrichment under hypoxic cultivation. The proportion of CD133(+) cells was enlarged by culturing under glucose starvation as well as hypoxia, and (64)Cu-ATSM uptake was increased under such conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings showed that, in colon-26 tumors, (64)Cu-ATSM accumulates in rich regions of CD133(+) cells with characteristics of CSCs. Therefore (64)Cu-ATSM could be a potential imaging agent for rich regions of CD133(+) cells, associated with CSCs, within tumors.

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