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Nucl Med Biol. 2010 Jul;37(5):637-44. doi: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2010.02.008. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Synthesis and in vivo evaluation of the putative breast cancer resistance protein inhibitor [11C]methyl 4-((4-(2-(6,7-dimethoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinolin-2-yl)ethyl)phenyl)amino-carbonyl)-2-(quinoline-2-carbonylamino)benzoate.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.



The multidrug efflux transporter breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is highly expressed in the blood-brain barrier (BBB), where it limits brain entry of a broad range of endogenous and exogenous substrates. Methyl is a recently discovered BCRP-selective inhibitor, which is structurally derived from the potent P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibitor tariquidar. The aim of this study was to develop a new PET tracer based on 1 to map BCRP expression levels in vivo.


Compound 1 was labelled with (11)C in its methyl ester function by reaction of the corresponding carboxylic acid 2 with [(11)C]methyl triflate. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of [(11)C]-1 was performed in wild-type, Mdr1a/b((-/-)), Bcrp1((-/-)) and Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice (n=3 per mouse type) and radiotracer metabolism was assessed in plasma and brain.


Brain-to-plasma ratios of unchanged [(11)C]-1 were 4.8- and 10.3-fold higher in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) and in Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice, respectively, as compared to wild-type animals, but only modestly increased in Bcrp1((-/-)) mice. [(11)C]-1 was rapidly metabolized in vivo giving rise to a polar radiometabolite which was taken up into brain tissue.


Our data suggest that [(11)C]-1 preferably interacts with P-gp rather than BCRP at the murine BBB which questions its reported in vitro BCRP selectivity. Consequently, [(11)C]-1 appears to be unsuitable as a PET tracer to map cerebral BCRP expression.

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