Kit-like 18F-labeling of RGD-19F-arytrifluroborate in high yield and at extraordinarily high specific activity with preliminary in vivo tumor imaging

Zhibo Liu, Ying Li, Jerome Lozada, May Q Wong, Jennifer Greene, Kuo-Shyan Lin, Donald Yapp, David M Perrin
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 2013, 40 (6): 841-9

INTRODUCTION: Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a rapidly expanding, cutting edge technology for preclinical evaluation, cancer diagnosis and staging, and patient management. A one-step aqueous (18)F-labeling method, which can be applied to peptides to provide functional in vivo images, has been a long-standing challenge in PET imaging. Over the past few years, we have sought a rapid and mild radiolabeling method based on the aqueous radiosynthesis of in vivo stable aryltrifluoroborate (ArBF(3)(-)) conjugates. Recent access to production levels of (18)F-Fluoride led to a fluorescent-(18)F-ArBF(3)(-) at unprecedentedly high specific activities of 15Ci/μmol. However, extending this method to labeling peptides as imaging agents has not been explored.

METHODS: In order to extend these results to a peptide of clinical interest in the context of production-level radiosynthesis, we applied this new technology for labeling RGD, measured its specific activity by standard curve analysis, and carried out a preliminary evaluation of its imaging properties.

RESULTS: RGD was labeled in excellent radiochemical yields at exceptionally high specific activity (~14Ci/μmol) (n = 3). Preliminary tumor-specific images corroborated by ex vivo biodistribution data with blocking controls show statistically significant albeit relatively low tumor uptake along with reasonably high tumor:blood ratios (n = 3).

CONCLUSIONS: Isotope exchange on a clinically useful (18)F-ArBF(3)(-) radiotracer leads to excellent radiochemical yields and exceptionally high specific activities while the anionic nature of the aryltrifluoroborate prosthetic results in very rapid clearance. Since rapid clearance of the radioactive tracer is generally desirable for tracer development, these results suggest new directions for varying linker arm composition to slightly retard clearance rather than enhancing it.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PATIENT CARE: This work is the first to use production levels of (18)F-activity to directly label RGD at specific activities that are an order of magnitude higher than most reports and thereby increases the distribution window for radiotracer production and delivery.

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