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Nat Med. 2012 Oct;18(10):1586-91. doi: 10.1038/nm.2935. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

Annotating MYC status with 89Zr-transferrin imaging.

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Radiochemistry Service, Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


A noninvasive technology that quantitatively measures the activity of oncogenic signaling pathways could have a broad impact on cancer diagnosis and treatment with targeted therapies. Here we describe the development of (89)Zr-desferrioxamine-labeled transferrin ((89)Zr-transferrin), a new positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer that binds the transferrin receptor 1 (TFRC, CD71) with high avidity. The use of (89)Zr-transferrin produces high-contrast PET images that quantitatively reflect treatment-induced changes in MYC-regulated TFRC expression in a MYC-driven prostate cancer xenograft model. Moreover, (89)Zr-transferrin imaging can detect the in situ development of prostate cancer in a transgenic MYC prostate cancer model, as well as in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) before histological or anatomic evidence of invasive cancer. These preclinical data establish (89)Zr-transferrin as a sensitive tool for noninvasive measurement of oncogene-driven TFRC expression in prostate and potentially other cancers, with prospective near-term clinical application.

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