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Melanoma Res. 2002 Apr;12(2):115-21.

Melanin affinity of N-(2-diethylaminoethyl)-4-iodobenzamide, an effective melanoma imaging agent.

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  • 1INSERM U484, rue Montalembert, BP 184, 63005 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex, France.


The cellular uptake and incorporation in macromolecules of iodine-125 labelled N-(2-diethylaminoethyl)-4-iodobenzamide ([125I]BZA), a melanoma imaging agent, was studied using human melanoma cells M3Dau (amelanotic) and M4Beu (melanotic). The interaction between [125I]BZA and synthetic melanin was examined in various conditions of incubation. The results showed that uptake was high only for M4Beu, whereas the incorporation in trichloroacetic acid-precipitable proteins was very low for both model cell lines, with no correlation with melanin content. Experiments with synthetic melanin showed that BZA binding to melanin was saturable and reversible, and involved several types of interaction. The influence of the ionic environment indicated that electrostatic forces play a role in the affinity, and the decrease in binding produced by the presence of an alcohol in the medium suggested that hydrophobic interactions may be involved in the binding mechanism. This was supported by the Scatchard analysis, which revealed two classes of binding sites, and the determination of two association constants (K1 = 3.9 +/- 1.9 x 106/M and K2 = 2.9 +/- 0.9 x 104/M). The affinity of BZA for melanin might explain the good results obtained in a phase II clinical trial for the diagnosis of malignant melanoma metastases, in which the specificity was 100%.

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