ARTICLE ABSTRACTTumor periphery and lymph nodes of tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis often abundantly express VEGFR-3. In our previous study, we identified a 5-amino acid peptide named TMVP1, which binds specifically to VEGFR-3. The objective of this study was to develop a novel 68Ga-labeled TMVP1 for VEGFR-3 PET imaging and to investigate its safety, biodistribution, and tumor-localizing efficacy in xenograft tumor models and a small cohort of patients with recurrent ovarian and cervical cancer.
The DOTA-conjugated TMVP1 peptide was labeled with radionuclide 68Ga. SPR and saturation binding assays were used for the receptor-binding studies. Gynecologic xenograft tumors were employed for small-animal PET imaging and biodistribution of 68Ga-DOTA-TMVP1 in vivo. In the clinical study, 5 healthy volunteers and 8 patients with gynecologic cancer underwent whole-body PET/CT after being injected with 68Ga-DOTA-TMVP1.
DOTA-TMVP1 was successfully labeled with 68Ga. LECs showed higher binding capacity with 68Ga-DOTA-TMVP1 than LEC(shVEGFR-3) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells. In mice with subcutaneous C33-A and SKOV-3 xenografts, the tracer was rapidly eliminated through the kidney to the bladder, and the small-animal PET/CT helped to clearly visualize the tumors. In patients with recurrent ovarian cancer and cervical cancer, tracer accumulation well above the background level was demonstrated in most identified sites of disease; especially with recurrent endodermal sinus tumors, the diagnostic value of 68Ga-DOTA-TMVP1 was comparable with that of 18F-FDG PET/CT.
68Ga-DOTA-TMVP1 is a potential PET tracer for imaging VEGFR-3 with favorable pharmacokinetics.