Towards the Optimization of Bombesin-Based Radiotracers for Tumor Targeting

The peptide bombesin (BBN) is a peptide with high affinity for the Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Receptor (GRPr), a receptor that is overexpressed by, e.g., breast and prostate cancers. Thus, GRPr agonists can be used as cancer-targeting vectors to shuttle diagnostic and therapeutic agents into tumor cells.

With the aim of optimizing the tumor targeting properties of a radiolabeled [Nle14]BBN(7-14) moiety, novel BBN(7-14)- and BBN(6-14)-based radioconjugates were synthesized, labeled with Lu-177, and fully evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The effect of residue and backbone modification on several parameters such as the internalization of the radiolabeled peptides into PC3 and AR42J tumor cells, their affinity towards the human GRPr, metabolic stability in blood plasma, and biodistribution in mice bearing GRPr-expressing PC3 xenografts was studied. As a result of our investigations, a novel radiolabeled GRPr agonist with a high tumor uptake and a high tumor-to-kidney ratio was identified.

Journal of medicinal chemistry. 2016 Apr 07 [Epub ahead of print]

Ibai E Valverde, Sandra Vomstein, Thomas L Mindt

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