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Bombesin Antagonists for Targeting Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Receptor-Positive Tumors: Design, Synthesis, Preclinical Evaluation and Optimization of Imaging Agents
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Preclinical PET Platform.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is focused on the development, preclinical evaluation, and optimization of radiotracers for the detection of gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR)-expressing tumors. The work is divided into three distinct parts: (1) the development of bombesin (BN) antagonist (RM26)-based imaging radiotracers for the detection of GRPR-expressing tumors using different positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) radionuclides (68Ga, 18F and 111In), (2) the establishment of a method to monitor the ligand-G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) interaction in real time without requiring purification and stabilization of the receptors, and (3) the evaluation of radiopeptide structure-related factors (length of mini-PEG linker and composition of chelator for metal labeling) affecting the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of RM26-based tracers.

We demonstrated the possibility of high-contrast in vivo imaging of GRPR-expressing xenografts despite the physiological expression of GRPR in abdominal organs. Fast radioactivity clearance from the blood and healthy organs, including receptor-positive organs, and long retention in the tumors resulted in high tumor-to-background ratios. A novel real-time assay for measuring the kinetics of the radiotracers targeting GPCR was evaluated. Living cells were used instead of purified receptors in this technology, bringing the developmental work one step closer to the true target environment (imaging in living systems). The comparative study of 68Ga-labeled NOTA-PEGn-RM26 with di-, tri-, tetra- and hexaethylene glycol chains demonstrated that the addition of only a few units of ethylene glycol to the spacer is insufficient to appreciably affect the biodistribution of the radiopeptide. Finally, a comparative study of 68Ga-labeled PEG2-RM26 analogs N-terminally conjugated to NOTA, NODAGA, DOTA or DOTAGA highlighted the influence of the chelator on the targeting properties of the radiopeptide.

The main conclusion that can be drawn from this thesis is that 68Ga-NOTA-PEG2-RM26 has favorable biodistribution properties, such as rapid clearance from blood and tissues with physiological GRPR expression levels and long retention in GRPR-expressing tumors, and that this radiopeptide is potentially suitable for initial clinical investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 66 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Pharmacy, ISSN 1651-6192 ; 191
Keyword [en]
Bombesin, Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR), Antagonist, Radionuclide molecular imaging
National Category
Pharmaceutical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232123ISBN: 978-91-554-9039-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-232123DiVA: diva2:746571
Public defence
2014-10-31, Rudbecksalen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-10 Created: 2014-09-12 Last updated: 2015-01-23
List of papers
1. Synthesis and Characterization of a High-Affinity NOTA-Conjugated Bombesin Antagonist for GRPR-Targeted Tumor Imaging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Synthesis and Characterization of a High-Affinity NOTA-Conjugated Bombesin Antagonist for GRPR-Targeted Tumor Imaging
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2013 (English)In: Bioconjugate chemistry, ISSN 1043-1802, E-ISSN 1520-4812, Vol. 24, no 7, 1144-1153 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR/BB2) is a molecular target for the visualization of prostate cancer. This work focused on the development of high-affinity, hydrophilic, antagonistic, bombesin-based imaging agents for PET and SPECT. The bombesin antagonist analog D-Phe-Gln-Trp-Ala-Val-Gly-His-Sta-Leu-NH2 ([D-Phe(6),Sta(13),Leu(14)]-bombesin[6-14]) was synthesized and conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N',N ''-triacetic acid (NOTA) via a diethylene glycol (PEG(2)) linker. The resulting conjugate, NOTA-PEG(2)-[D-Phe(6),Sta(13),Leu(14)]bombesin[6-14] (NOTA-P2-RM26), was labeled with Ga-68 (T-1/2 = 68 min, positron emitter) and In-111 (T-1/2 = 2.8 days, gamma emitter). The labeling stability, specificity, inhibition efficiency (IC50), and dissociation constant (K-D) of both labeled compounds as well as their cellular retention and internalization were investigated. The pharmacokinetics of the dual isotope) (In-111/Ga-68)-labeled peptide in both normal NMRI mice and PC-3 tumor-bearing Balb/c nu/nu mice was also studied. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with In-111 and Ga-68 at a radiochemical yield of >98%. Both conjugates were shown to have high specificity and binding affinity for GRPR. The K-D value was determined to be 23 +/- 13 pM for the In-111-labeled compound in a saturation binding experiment. In addition, In-nat- and Ga-nat-NOTA-P2-RM26 showed low nanomolar binding inhibition concentrations (IC50 = 1.24 +/- 0.29 nM and 0.91 +/- 0.19 nM, respectively) in a competitive binding assay. The internalization rate of the radiolabeled conjugates was slow. The radiometal-labeled tracers demonstrated rapid blood clearance via the kidney and GRPR-specific uptake in the pancreas in normal mice. Tumor targeting and biodistribution studies in mice bearing PC-3 xenografts displayed high and specific uptake in tumors (8.1 +/- 0.4%ID/g for Ga-68 and 5.7 +/- 0.3%ID/g for In-111) and high tumor-to-background ratios (tumor/blood: 12 +/- 1 for Ga-68 and 10 +/- 1 for In-111) after only 1 h pi of 45 pmol of peptide. The xenografts were visualized by gamma and microPET cameras shortly after injection. In conclusion, the antagonistic bombesin analog NOTA-PEG(2)-D-Phe-Gln-Trp-Ala-Val-Gly-His-Sta-Leu-NH2 (NOTA-P2-RM26) is a promisindg candidate for prostate cancer imaging using PET and SPECT/CT.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207041 (URN)10.1021/bc300659k (DOI)000322103200003 ()
Funder
Swedish Cancer SocietySwedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-09-09 Created: 2013-09-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of a F-18-Labeled High Affinity NOTA Conjugated Bombesin Antagonist as a PET Ligand for GRPR-Targeted Tumor Imaging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of a F-18-Labeled High Affinity NOTA Conjugated Bombesin Antagonist as a PET Ligand for GRPR-Targeted Tumor Imaging
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2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 12, e81932- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Expression of the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in prostate cancer suggests that this receptor can be used as a potential molecular target to visualize and treat these tumors. We have previously investigated an antagonist analog of bombesin (D-Phe-Gln-Trp-Ala-Val-Gly-His-Sta-Leu-NH2, RM26) conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N',N ''-triacetic acid (NOTA) via a diethylene glycol (PEG(2)) spacer (NOTA-P2-RM26) labeled with Ga-68 and In-111. We found that this conjugate has favorable properties for in vivo imaging of GRPR-expression. The focus of this study was to develop a F-18-labelled PET agent to visualize GRPR. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with F-18 using aluminum-fluoride chelation. Stability, in vitro binding specificity and cellular processing tests were performed. The inhibition efficiency (IC50) of the [F-nat]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 was compared to that of the Ga-nat-loaded peptide using I-125-Tyr(4)-BBN as the displacement radioligand. The pharmacokinetics and in vivo binding specificity of the compound were studied. NOTA-P2-RM26 was labeled with F-18 within 1 h (60-65% decay corrected radiochemical yield, 55 GBq/mu mol). The radiopeptide was stable in murine serum and showed high specific binding to PC-3 cells. [F-nat]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 showed a low nanomolar inhibition efficiency (IC50=4.4 +/- 0.8 nM). The internalization rate of the tracer was low. Less than 14% of the cell-bound radioactivity was internalized after 4 h. The biodistribution of [F-18]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 demonstrated rapid blood clearance, low liver uptake and low kidney retention. The tumor uptake at 3 h p. i. was 5.5 +/- 0.7 % ID/g, and the tumor-to-blood, -muscle and -bone ratios were 87 +/- 42, 159 +/- 47, 38 +/- 16, respectively. The uptake in tumors, pancreas and other GRPR-expressing organs was significantly reduced when excess amount of non-labeled peptide was co-injected. The low uptake in bone suggests a high in vivo stability of the Al-F bond. High contrast PET image was obtained 3 h p. i. The initial biological results suggest that [F-18]AlF-NOTA-P2-RM26 is a promising candidate for PET imaging of GRPR in vivo.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214023 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0081932 (DOI)000327947800069 ()
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2014-01-07 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Detecting ligand interactions with G protein-coupled receptors in real-time on living cells
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Detecting ligand interactions with G protein-coupled receptors in real-time on living cells
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2013 (English)In: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications - BBRC, ISSN 0006-291X, E-ISSN 1090-2104, Vol. 441, no 4, 820-824 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large group of receptors of great biological and clinical relevance. Despite this, the tools for a detailed analysis of ligand-GPCR interactions are limited. The aim of this paper was to demonstrate how ligand binding to GPCRs can be followed in real-time on living cells. This was conducted using two model systems, the radiolabeled porcine peptide YY (pPYY) interacting with transfected human Y2 receptor (hY2R) and the bombesin antagonist RM26 binding to the naturally expressed gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR). By following the interaction over time, the affinity and kinetic properties such as association and dissociation rate were obtained. Additionally, data were analyzed using the Interaction Map method, which can evaluate a real-time binding curve and present the number of parallel interactions contributing to the curve. It was found that pPYY binds very slowly with an estimated time to equilibrium of approximately 12 h. This may be problematic in standard end-point assays where equilibrium is required. The RM26 binding showed signs of heterogeneity, observed as two parallel interactions with unique kinetic properties. In conclusion, measuring binding in real-time using living cells opens up for a better understanding of ligand interactions with GPCRs.

Keyword
GPCR, Real-time, LigandTracer, Interaction Map, Kinetics, Heterogeneity
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-215943 (URN)10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.10.149 (DOI)000328434800022 ()
Note

De två första författarna delar första författarskapet.

Available from: 2014-01-17 Created: 2014-01-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. The Effect of Mini-PEG-Based Spacer Length on Binding and Pharmacokinetic Properties of a Ga-68-Labeled NOTA-Conjugated Antagonistic Analog of Bombesin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Effect of Mini-PEG-Based Spacer Length on Binding and Pharmacokinetic Properties of a Ga-68-Labeled NOTA-Conjugated Antagonistic Analog of Bombesin
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2014 (English)In: Molecules, ISSN 1420-3049, E-ISSN 1420-3049, Vol. 19, no 7, 10455-10472 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The overexpression of gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in cancer can be used for peptide-receptor mediated radionuclide imaging and therapy. We have previously shown that an antagonist analog of bombesin RM26 conjugated to 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N, N', N ''-triacetic acid (NOTA) via a diethyleneglycol (PEG(2)) spacer (NOTA-PEG(2)-RM26) and labeled with Ga-68 can be used for imaging of GRPR-expressing tumors. In this study, we evaluated if a variation of mini-PEG spacer length can be used for optimization of targeting properties of the NOTA-conjugated RM26. A series of analogs with different PEG-length (n = 2, 3, 4, 6) was synthesized, radiolabeled and evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The IC50 values of Ga-nat-NOTA-PEG(n)-RM26 (n = 2, 3, 4, 6) were 3.1 +/- 0.2, 3.9 +/- 0.3, 5.4 +/- 0.4 and 5.8 +/- 0.3 nM, respectively. In normal mice all conjugates demonstrated similar biodistribution pattern, however Ga-68-NOTA-PEG(3)-RM26 showed lower liver uptake. Biodistribution of Ga-68-NOTA-PEG(3)-RM26 was evaluated in nude mice bearing PC-3 (prostate cancer) and BT-474 (breast cancer) xenografts. High uptake in tumors (4.6 +/- 0.6% ID/g and 2.8 +/- 0.4% ID/g for PC-3 and BT-474 xenografts, respectively) and high tumor-to-background ratios (tumor/ blood of 44 +/- 12 and 42 +/- 5 for PC-3 and BT-474 xenografts, respectively) were found already at 2 h p.i. of Ga-68-NOTA-PEG(3)-RM26. Results of this study suggest that variation in the length of the PEG spacer can be used for optimization of targeting properties of peptide-chelator conjugates. However, the influence of the mini-PEG length on biodistribution is minor when di-, tri-, tetra- and hexaethylene glycol are compared.

Keyword
bombesin analog, PEG, GRPR, antagonist, molecular imaging, breast cancer, prostate cancer, BT-474, PC-3 cells
National Category
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-231315 (URN)10.3390/molecules190710455 (DOI)000340036200108 ()25036155 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-09-08 Created: 2014-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
5. The effect of macrocyclic chelators on the targeting properties of the 68Ga-labeled gastrin releasing peptide receptor antagonist PEG2-RM26
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of macrocyclic chelators on the targeting properties of the 68Ga-labeled gastrin releasing peptide receptor antagonist PEG2-RM26
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2015 (English)In: Nuclear Medicine and Biology, ISSN 0969-8051, E-ISSN 1872-9614, Vol. 42, no 5, 446-454 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction

Overexpression of gastrin-releasing peptide receptors (GRPR) has been reported in several cancers. Bombesin (BN) analogs are short peptides with a high affinity for GRPR. Different BN analogs were evaluated for radionuclide imaging and therapy of GRPR-expressing tumors. We have previously investigated an antagonistic analog of BN (D-Phe-Gln-Trp-Ala-Val-Gly-His-Sta-Leu-NH2, RM26) conjugated to NOTA via a PEG2 spacer (NOTA-PEG2-RM26) labeled with 68Ga, 111In and Al18F. 68Ga-labeled NOTA-PEG2-RM26 showed high tumor-to-organ ratios.

Methods

The influence of different macrocyclic chelators (NOTA, NODAGA, DOTA and DOTAGA) on the targeting properties of 68Ga-labeled PEG2-RM26 was studied in vitro and in vivo.

Results

All conjugates were labeled with generator-produced 68Ga with high yields and demonstrated high stability and specific binding to GRPR. The IC50 values of natGa-X-PEG2-RM26 (X = NOTA, DOTA, NODAGA, DOTAGA) were 2.3 ± 0.2, 3.0 ± 0.3, 2.9 ± 0.3 and 10.0 ± 0.6 nM, respectively. The internalization of the conjugates by PC-3 cells was low. However, the DOTA-conjugated analog demonstrated a higher internalization rate compared to other analogs. GRPR-specific uptake was found in receptor-positive normal tissues and PC-3 xenografts for all conjugates. The biodistribution of the conjugates was influenced by the choice of the chelator moiety. Although all radiotracers cleared rapidly from the blood, [68Ga]Ga-NOTA-PEG2-RM26 showed significantly lower uptake in lung, muscle and bone compared to the other analogs. The uptake in tumors (5.40 ± 1.04 %ID/g at 2 h p.i.) and the tumor-to-organ ratios (25 ± 3, 157 ± 23 and 39 ± 4 for blood, muscle and bone, respectively) were significantly higher for the NOTA-conjugate than the other analogs.

Conclusions

Chelators had a clear influence on the biodistribution and targeting properties of 68Ga-labeled antagonistic BN analogs. Positively charged [68Ga]Ga-NOTA-PEG2-RM26 provided a low kidney radioactivity uptake, high affinity, high tumor uptake and high image contrast.

National Category
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232120 (URN)10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2014.12.009 (DOI)000353369000005 ()25684649 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Cancer SocietySwedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-09-12 Created: 2014-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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