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J Nucl Med. 2009 Nov;50(11):1873-80. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.109.067140.

Targeting the alphavbeta3 integrin for small-animal PET/CT of osteolytic bone metastases.

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  • 1Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


This article describes the evaluation of the radiopharmaceutical (64)Cu-CB-TE2A-c(RGDyK) ((64)Cu-RGD) as an imaging agent for osteolytic bone metastases and their associated inflammation by targeting of the alpha(v)beta(3) integrin on osteoclasts and the proinflammatory cells involved at the bone metastatic site.


The (64)Cu-RGD radiotracer was evaluated in the transgenic mouse expressing Tax (Tax(+)), which spontaneously develops osteolytic tumors throughout the vertebrae and hind limbs, using biodistribution studies and small-animal PET/CT. Histologic analysis was also performed on Tax(+) mouse tails, using hematoxylin and eosin and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase to confirm the presence of osteolytic bone lesions and the presence of osteoclasts, respectively. Additionally, a proof-of-principle study was conducted with a small group of Tax(+) animals presenting with osteolytic lesions. These animals were treated with the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid and imaged with (64)Cu-RGD to determine whether this radiopharmaceutical was sensitive enough to detect a response to the bisphosphonate therapy.


Biodistribution studies using (64)Cu-RGD demonstrated that Tax(+) mice between the ages of 6 and 12 mo had a greater accumulation of activity in their tail vertebrae than did the wild-type (WT) cohort (P = 0.013). Additionally, Tax(+) mice between the ages of 6 and 12 mo had significantly more tracer activity associated with their tail vertebrae than did Tax(+) mice older than 12 mo (P = 0.003), suggesting that earlier bone metastases cause an increased recruitment of alpha(v)beta(3)-expressing cells. Small-animal PET/CT with (64)Cu-RGD was conducted on Tax(+) and WT mice. On the basis of standardized uptake value analysis, Tax(+) mice had approximately 2-fold more tail-associated activity than did WT animals (P = 0.0157). Additionally, decreases in uptake were observed in the tails of Tax(+) mice after treatment with the osteoclast inhibitor zoledronic acid, and histologic analysis of Tax(+) mouse-tail vertebrae revealed the presence of Tax(+) tumor cells, osteoclasts, and proinflammatory cells within the bone microenvironment.


Together, these data suggest that (64)Cu-RGD has the potential to effectively image osteolytic bone metastases and monitor the physiologic changes in the bone metastatic microenvironment after osteoclast-inhibiting bisphosphonate therapy.

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