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J Control Release. 2006 Apr 10;111(3):343-51. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Delivery of gadolinium-labeled nanoparticles to the sentinel lymph node: comparison of the sentinel node visualization and estimations of intra-nodal gadolinium concentration by the magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Molecular Imaging Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 1B40, MSC1088, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-1088, USA.


Sentinel node imaging is commonly performed prior to surgery for breast cancer and melanoma. While current methods are based on radio-lymphoscintigraphy, MR lymphangiography (MRL) offers the benefits of better spatial resolution without ionizing radiation. However, the optimal nanoparticle for imaging the sentinel nodes remains unclear. Gadolinium-labeled (Gd) contrast agents ranging in diameter from <1 to 12 nm were evaluated to determine which size provides the most rapid and most concentrated delivery of contrast agent to the lymph nodes in a mouse model of lymphatic metastases. Specifically, PAMAM-G2, -G4, -G6 and -G8, and DAB-G5 Gd-dendrimer agents, as well as Gadomer-17 and Gd-DTPA, were compared. Among these agents, the G6 Gd dendrimer depicted the lymphatics and lymph nodes with the highest peak concentrations and this occurred 24-36 min post-injection (p<0.01; all except G8). Based on ex vivo concentration phantoms, high accumulations of Gd(III) ions occurred within lymph nodes (1.7-4.4 mM Gd/270-680 ppm Gd) with high target to background ratios (>100). These concentrations are sufficient to contemplate the use of Gd-neutron capture therapy of regional lymph nodes. Thus, when injected interstitially, the PAMAM-G6 Gd dendrimer not only provides excellent opacification of sentinel lymph nodes, but also provides the potential for targeted therapy of sentinel lymph nodes.

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