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Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 15;69(6):2435-42. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2495. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Engineered knottin peptides: a new class of agents for imaging integrin expression in living subjects.

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1
Department of Bioengineering, Cancer Center, Bio-X Program, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.

Abstract

There is a critical need for molecular imaging agents to detect cell surface integrin receptors that are present in human cancers. Previously, we used directed evolution to engineer knottin peptides that bind with high affinity ( approximately 10 to 30 nmol/L) to integrin receptors that are overexpressed on the surface of tumor cells and the tumor neovasculature. To evaluate these peptides as molecular imaging agents, we site-specifically conjugated Cy5.5 or (64)Cu-1,4,7,10-tetra-azacyclododecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) to their N termini, and used optical and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to measure their uptake and biodistribution in U87MG glioblastoma murine xenograft models. NIR fluorescence and microPET imaging both showed that integrin binding affinity plays a strong role in the tumor uptake of knottin peptides. Tumor uptake at 1 hour postinjection for two high-affinity (IC(50), approximately 20 nmol/L) (64)Cu-DOTA-conjugated knottin peptides was 4.47% +/- 1.21% and 4.56% +/- 0.64% injected dose/gram (%ID/g), compared with a low-affinity knottin peptide (IC(50), approximately 0.4 mumol/L; 1.48 +/- 0.53%ID/g) and c(RGDyK) (IC(50), approximately 1 mumol/L; 2.32 +/- 0.55%ID/g), a low-affinity cyclic pentapeptide under clinical development. Furthermore, (64)Cu-DOTA-conjugated knottin peptides generated lower levels of nonspecific liver uptake ( approximately 2%ID/g) compared with c(RGDyK) ( approximately 4%ID/g) 1 hour postinjection. MicroPET imaging results were confirmed by in vivo biodistribution studies. (64)Cu-DOTA-conjugated knottin peptides were stable in mouse serum, and in vivo metabolite analysis showed minimal degradation in the blood or tumor upon injection. Thus, engineered integrin-binding knottin peptides show great potential as clinical diagnostics for a variety of cancers.

PMID:
19276378
PMCID:
PMC2833353
DOI:
10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2495
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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