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J Nucl Med. 2006 Jul;47(7):1172-80.

A thiol-reactive 18F-labeling agent, N-[2-(4-18F-fluorobenzamido)ethyl]maleimide, and synthesis of RGD peptide-based tracer for PET imaging of alpha v beta 3 integrin expression.

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Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) and Bio-X Program, Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5484, USA.


The cell adhesion molecule integrin alpha v beta 3 plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. A series of 18F-labeled RGD peptides have been developed for PET of integrin expression based on primary amine-reactive prosthetic groups. In this study we introduced a new method of labeling RGD peptides through a thiol-reactive synthon, N-[2-(4-18F-fluorobenzamido)ethyl]maleimide (18F-FBEM).


18F-FBEM was synthesized by coupling N-succinimidyl 4-18F-fluorobenzoate (18F-SFB) with N-(2-aminoethyl)maleimide. After high-pressure liquid chromatography purification, it was allowed to react with thiolated RGD peptides, and the resulting tracers were subjected to receptor-binding assay, in vivo metabolic stability assessment, biodistribution, and microPET studies in murine xenograft models.


Conjugation of monomeric and dimeric sulfhydryl-RGD peptides with 18F-FBEM was achieved in high yields (85% +/- 5% nondecay-corrected on the basis of 18F-FBEM). The radiochemical purity of the 18F-labeled peptides was >98% and the specific activity was 100 approximately 150 TBq/mmol. Noninvasive microPET and direct tissue sampling experiments demonstrated that both 18F-FBEM-SRGD (RGD monomer) and 18F-FBEM-SRGD2 (RGD dimer) had integrin-specific tumor uptake in subcutaneous U87MG glioma and orthotopic MDA-MB-435 breast cancer xenografts.


The new tracer 18F-FBEM-SRGD2 was synthesized with high specific activity via 18F-FBEM and the tracer exhibited high receptor-binding affinity, tumor-targeting efficacy, metabolic stability, as well as favorable in vivo pharmacokinetics. The new synthon 18F-FBEM developed in this study will also be useful for radiolabeling of other thiolated biomolecules.

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