In vivo imaging of human colorectal cancer using radiolabeled analogs of the uroguanylin Peptide hormone.
BACKGROUND: Uroguanylin is an endogenous peptide agonist that binds to the guanylate cyclase C receptor (GC-C). GC-C is overexpressed in human colorectal cancer (CRC), and exposure of GC-C-expressing cells to GC-C agonists results in cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis, highlighting the therapeutic potential of such compounds. This study describes the first use of radiolabeled uroguanylin analogs for in vivo detection of CRC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The peptides uroguanylin and E(3)-uroguanylin were N-terminally labeled with the DOTA chelating group via NHS ester activation and characterized by RP-HPLC, ESI-MS, and GC-C receptor binding assays. The purified conjugates were radiolabeled with In-111 and used for in vivo biodistribution and SPECT imaging studies. In vivo experiments were carried out using SCID mice bearing T84 human colorectal cancer tumor xenografts. RESULTS: Alteration of the position 3 aspartate residue to glutamate resulted in increased affinity for GC-C, with IC(50) values of 5.0+/-0.3 and 9.6+/-2.9 nM for E(3)-uroguanylin and DOTA-E(3)-uroguanylin, respectively. In vivo, (111)In-DOTA-E(3)-uroguanylin demonstrated tumor uptake of 1.17+/-0.23 and 0.61+/-0.07% ID/g at 1 and 4 h post injection, respectively. The specificity of tumor localization was demonstrated by coinjection of 3 mg/kg unlabeled E(3)-uroguanylin, which reduced tumor uptake by 69%. Uptake in kidney, however, was dramatically higher for the uroguanylin peptides than for previously characterized radiolabeled E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin (STh) analogs targeting GC-C, and was also inhibited by coinjection of unlabeled peptide in a fashion not previously observed. CONCLUSION: Use of uroguanylin-targeting vectors for in vivo imaging of colorectal cancers expressing GC-C resulted in tumor uptake that paralleled that of higher affinity heat-stable enterotoxin peptides, but also resulted in increased kidney uptake in vivo.
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