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Am J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):1-13.

Positron Emission Tomography and Near-Infrared Fluorescence Imaging of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor with Dual-Labeled Bevacizumab.

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Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


The pivotal role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in cancer is underscored by the approval of bevacizumab (Bev, a humanized anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody) for first line treatment of cancer patients. The aim of this study was to develop a dual-labeled Bev for both positron emission tomography (PET) and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging of VEGF. Bev was conjugated to a NIRF dye (i.e. 800CW) and 2-S-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid (p-SCN-Bn-NOTA) before (64)Cu-labeling. Flow cytometry analysis of U87MG human glioblastoma cells revealed no difference in VEGF binding affinity/specificity between Bev and NOTA-Bev-800CW. (64)Cu-labeling of NOTA-Bev-800CW was achieved with high yield. Serial PET imaging of U87MG tumor-bearing female nude mice revealed that tumor uptake of (64)Cu-NOTA-Bev-800CW was 4.6 ± 0.7, 16.3 ± 1.6, 18.1 ± 1.4 and 20.7 ± 3.7 %ID/g at 4, 24, 48 and 72 h post-injection respectively (n = 4), corroborated by in vivo/ex vivo NIRF imaging and biodistribution studies. Tumor uptake as measured by ex vivo NIRF imaging had a good linear correlation with the %ID/g values obtained from PET (R(2) = 0.93). Blocking experiments and histology both confirmed the VEGF specificity of (64)Cu-NOTA-Bev-800CW. The persistent, prominent, and VEGF-specific uptake of (64)Cu-NOTA-Bev-800CW in the tumor, observed by both PET and NIRF imaging, warrants further investigation and future clinical translation of such Bev-based imaging agents.

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