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Transl Oncol. 2013 Jun 1;6(3):329-37. Print 2013 Jun.

Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Tumors with a PTPµ Targeted Contrast Agent.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.


Molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of tumors improves the specificity of MRI by using targeted probes conjugated to contrast-generating metals. The limitation of this approach is in the identification of a target molecule present in sufficient concentration for visualization and the development of a labeling reagent that can penetrate tumor tissue with the fast kinetics required for use in a clinical setting. The receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPµ is a transmembrane protein that is continuously proteolyzed in the tumor microenvironment to generate a high concentration of extracellular fragment that can be recognized by the SBK2 probe. We conjugated the SBK2 peptide to a gadolinium chelate [SBK2-Tris-(Gd-DOTA)3] to test whether the SBK2 probe could be developed as an MR molecular imaging probe. When intravenously injected into mice bearing flank tumors of human glioma cells, SBK2-Tris-(Gd-DOTA)3 labeled the tumors within 5 minutes with a high level of contrast for up to 2 hours post-injection. The contrast enhancement of SBK2-Tris-(Gd-DOTA)3 was significantly higher than that observed with a current MRI macrocyclic gadolinium chelate (Gadoteridol, ProHance) alone or a scrambled control. These results demonstrate that SBK2-Tris-(Gd-DOTA)3 labeling of the PTPµ extracellular fragment is a more specific MR molecular imaging probe than ProHance or a scrambled control. Consequently, the SBK2 probe may be more useful than the current gold standard reagent for MRI to identify tumors and to co-register tumor borders during surgical resection.

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