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Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2018 Mar 8;2018:4979746. doi: 10.1155/2018/4979746. eCollection 2018.

NIRF Optical/PET Dual-Modal Imaging of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Using Heptamethine Carbocyanine Dye.

Author information

1
Laboratory Animal Center, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, China.
2
Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreaticosplenic Surgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Xijing Hospital of Digestive Diseases, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, China.

Abstract

Combining near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and nuclear imaging techniques provides a novel approach for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosis. Here, we report the synthesis and characteristics of a dual-modality NIRF optical/positron emission tomography (PET) imaging probe using heptamethine carbocyanine dye and verify its feasibility in both nude mice and rabbits with orthotopic xenograft liver cancer. This dye, MHI-148, is an effective cancer-specific NIRF imaging agent and shows preferential uptake and retention in liver cancer. The corresponding NIRF imaging intensity reaches 109/cm2 tumor area at 24 h after injection in mice with HCC subcutaneous tumors. The dye can be further conjugated with radionuclide 68Ga (68Ga-MHI-148) for PET tracing. We applied the dual-modality methodology toward the detection of HCC in both patient-derived orthotopic xenograft (PDX) models and rabbit orthotopic transplantation models. NIRF/PET images showed clear tumor delineation after probe injection (MHI-148 and 68Ga-MHI-148). The tumor-to-muscle (T/M) standardized uptake value (SUV) ratios were obtained from PET at 1 h after injection of 68Ga-MHI-148, which was helpful for effectively capturing small tumors in mice (0.5 cm × 0.3 cm) and rabbits (1.2 cm × 1.8 cm). This cancer-targeting NIRF/PET dual-modality imaging probe provides a proof of principle for noninvasive detection of deep-tissue tumors in mouse and rabbit and is a promising technique for more accurate and early detection of HCC.

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