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J Nucl Med. 2004 Dec;45(12):2070-82.

External imaging of CCND1 cancer gene activity in experimental human breast cancer xenografts with 99mTc-peptide-peptide nucleic acid-peptide chimeras.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Detection of a new or recurrent breast cancer lesion relies on physical examination and imaging studies, primarily mammography, followed by histopathologic evaluation of biopsy tissue for morphologic confirmation. Approximately 66%-85% of detected lesions are not malignant. Therefore, biopsies are unnecessary for at least two thirds of patients. Human estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells typically display an elevated level of cyclin D1 protein because of the overexpression of CCND1 messenger RNA (mRNA) and an elevated level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) receptor (IGF1R) because of the overexpression of IGF1R mRNA. We hypothesized that scintigraphic detection of CCND1 peptide nucleic acid (PNA) hybridization probes with a (99m)Tc-chelating peptide on the N terminus and an IGF1 peptide loop on the C terminus could detect CCND1 mRNA in human MCF7 breast cancer xenografts in nude mice from outside the body.


We prepared the CCND1 probes as well as mismatched controls by solid-phase synthesis. We used fluorescence microscopy to detect the cellular uptake of fluoresceinyl probes and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to detect the hybridization of probes to mRNA. We imaged (99m)Tc-probes in MCF7 xenografts scintigraphically and measured distribution by scintillation counting of dissected tissues.


IGF1R-overexpressing MCF7 cells internalized the fluorescein-chelator-CCND1 PNA-IGF1 peptide but not the mismatched control peptide. The chelator-CCND1 PNA-IGF1 peptide but not the control peptide lowered the level of cyclin D1 protein in IGF1R-overexpressing MCF7 xenografts in nude mice after intratumoral injection. IGF1R-overexpressing MCF7 xenografts in nude mice were visualized at 4, 12, and 24 h after tail vein administration of the (99m)Tc-CCND1 antisense probe but not the control probe. (99m)Tc-chimeras were distributed normally in the kidneys, liver, tumors, and other tissues.


Cancer gene activity can be detected from outside the body by probing with radionuclide-chelator-PNA-peptide chimeras.

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