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Nucl Med Commun. 2005 Feb;26(2):147-53.

Synthesis, biodistribution and effects of farnesyltransferase inhibitor therapy on tumour uptake in mice of 99mTc labelled epidermal growth factor.

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  • 1Laboratory for Radiopharmacy, Gent University, Belgium.



The goal of this study was to develop a 99mTc labelled human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) for the in-vivo prediction of cancer cell response to farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI) therapy. This is based on the observation that internalization of EGF receptors is inhibited by FTIs.


We describe the radiolabelling of 99mTc-hEGF using the hydrazinonicotinamide (HYNIC) linker. Binding characteristics of 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF to the EGF receptor are explored using an in-vitro binding assay. Biodistribution data of the compound in mice and tumour uptake in LoVo tumour bearing athymic mice before and after farnesyltransferase inhibitor therapy are presented.


No colloid formation was observed. Binding parameters and LoVo tumour uptake of 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF did not differ significantly from directly labelled 123I-hEGF values. However, the biodistribution data of the 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF showed higher uptake in liver and intestines and decreased stomach uptake compared to its 123I analogue. Eight hours after farnesyltransferase inhibitor therapy with R115777, LoVo tumour uptake of 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF decreased significantly, as shown using planar gamma scintigraphy (the ratio tumour vs. thigh dropped from 2.54+/-0.83 to 0.99+/-0.18). These data confirm the results obtained using 123I-hEGF.


These data suggest that 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF is a promising and selective new radiotracer for in-vivo monitoring of the EGF receptor with SPECT. Moreover, 99mTc-HYNIC-hEGF is a possible tool for early therapy response prediction of farnesyltransferase inhibitors.

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