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Bioorg Med Chem. 2011 Apr 1;19(7):2190-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2011.02.039. Epub 2011 Feb 26.

Radiosynthesis and in vivo evaluation of 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar as a positron emission tomography tracer for P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria.


Aim of this study was to label the potent dual P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) inhibitor elacridar (1) with (18)F to provide a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer to visualize Pgp and BCRP. A series of new 1- and 2-halogen- and nitro-substituted derivatives of 1 (4a-e) was synthesized as precursor molecules and reference compounds for radiolabelling and shown to display comparable in vitro potency to 1 in increasing rhodamine 123 accumulation in a cell line overexpressing human Pgp (MDCKII-MDR1). 1-[(18)F]fluoroelacridar ([(18)F]4b) was synthesized in a decay-corrected radiochemical yield of 1.7±0.9% by a 1-step no-carrier added nucleophilic aromatic (18)F-substitution of 1-nitro precursor 4c. Small-animal PET imaging of [(18)F]4b was performed in naïve rats, before and after administration of unlabelled 1 (5 mg/kg, n=3), as well as in wild-type and Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice (n=3). In PET experiments in rats, administration of unlabelled 1 increased brain activity uptake by a factor of 9.5 (p=0.0002, 2-tailed Student's t-test), whereas blood activity levels remained unchanged. In Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice, the mean brain-to-blood ratio of activity at 60 min after tracer injection was 7.6 times higher as compared to wild-type animals (p=0.0002). HPLC analysis of rat brain tissue extracts collected at 40 min after injection of [(18)F]4b revealed that 93±7% of total radioactivity in brain was in the form of unchanged [(18)F]4b. In conclusion, the in vivo behavior of [(18)F]4b was found to be similar to previously described [(11)C]1 suggesting transport of [(18)F]4b by Pgp and/or BCRP at the rodent BBB. However, low radiochemical yields and a significant degree of in vivo defluorination will limit the utility of [(18)F]4b as a PET tracer.

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