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Bioorg Med Chem. 2007 Feb 15;15(4):1802-7. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Synthesis and in vivo evaluation of [18F]-4-[5-(4-methylphenyl)-3-(trifluoromethyl)-1H-pyrazol-1-yl]benzenesulfonamide as a PET imaging probe for COX-2 expression.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Synthesis of [18F]4-[5-(4-methylphenyl)-3-(trifluoromethyl)-1H-pyrazol-1-yl]benzenesulfonamide ([18F]celecoxib), a selective COX-2 inhibitor, is achieved via a bromide to [18F]F- exchange reaction. Synthesis of the precursor for radiolabeling was achieved from 4'-methylacetophenone in four steps with 22% overall yield. Under non-radioactive conditions, fluorination was achieved using TBAF in DMSO at 135 degrees C in 80% yield. Synthesis of [18F]celecoxib was achieved using [18F]TBAF in DMSO at 135 degrees C in 10+/-2% yield (EOS) with >99% chemical and radiochemical purities. The specific activity was 120+/-40 mCi/micromol (EOB). [18F]celecoxib was found to be stable in ethanol, however, de[18F]fluorination (6.5%) was observed after 4 h in 10% ethanol-saline solution. Rodent PET studies show bone labeling indicating in vivo de[18F]fluorination of [18F]celecoxib. PET studies in baboon indicated a lower rate of de[18F]fluorination than rat and retention of radioactivity in brain regions consistent with the known distribution of COX-2. A radiolabeling method that can generate consistent high specific activity is needed for routine human use.

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