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Cancer Gene Ther. 2004 Feb;11(2):121-7.

Imaging of metastatic pulmonary tumors following NIS gene transfer using single photon emission computed tomography.

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Medical Scientist Program, College of Medicine and Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


The Na+/I- symporter (NIS) is a membrane glycoprotein that facilitates the uptake of iodine into thyroid follicular cells. Recently, we and others have demonstrated the feasibility of imaging subcutaneous xenografts expressing exogenous NIS, suggesting that NIS may serve as an imaging reporter gene to monitor vector delivery and therapeutic gene expression. In this study, we established NIS-expressing pulmonary tumors in nude mice to investigate the minimal tumor size required for in vivo detection of pulmonary tumors by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with pinhole collimation. In order to define the anatomic location of NIS-expressing tumor nodules detectable by SPECT, we performed simultaneous, dual-isotope imaging. We injected 1 mCi 99mTc-MAA via tail vein to image pulmonary perfusion and injected 1 mCi Na125I intraperitoneally to image NIS-expressing tumors. Fused images showed that 99mTc-MAA perfusion defects correlated with NIS-mediated 125I uptake. Post-mortem analysis revealed that tumors 3 mm in diameter could be detected by SPECT with pinhole collimation. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of SPECT to detect pulmonary tumors expressing exogenous NIS in mice.

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