Application of novel targeted molecular imaging probes in the early diagnosis of upper urinary tract epithelial carcinoma

Imaging techniques of upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) are presently limited. Upconversion particles (UCPs) could be used to target tumors for imaging. The present study aimed to assess the value of a nano-UCP as a diagnostic probe for deep tumor tissue, including UTUC. Polymer-coated water-soluble UCPs were synthesized. The pH Low Insertion Peptide (pHLIP) polypeptide was synthesized using the solid phase method. The silane shell surface was modified to present amino or carboxyl groups. Succinimidyl 4-(N-maleimidomethyl)cyclohexane-1-carboxylate was used for the coupling of the polypeptide to the UCPs. An animal model of subcutaneous tumor was established in 4-week old nude mice using UTUC cells. Urinary tract epithelial cancer T24 cells were injected into the diaphragm below the heart. PHLIP-UCP solution (1 ml) was injected into the abdominal cavity of each animal. Optical detection was performed using a small animal living body multispectral imaging system. UCPs dispersed in chloroform emitted no light under natural light, while they emitted a green light when excited with a 980-nm laser. The maximum emission wavelength of Ho3+-doped UCPs was ~550 nm and the red emission region was ~650 nm. As the coated UCPs possessed a tendency to agglomerate and precipitate, the yield of the UCPs in the aqueous phase was reduced. Tumors could be successfully imaged in tumor-bearing mice. NaYF4: Yb, Ho3+ UPCs could be used for the detection of UTUC, thus further studies are required to determine if it could be used in larger animals with deeper tumors.

Oncology letters. 2018 Sep 11 [Epub]

Guodong Liao, Lijiang Wang, Weiwen Yu

Department of Urology, Zhejiang Province People's Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310014, P.R. China., Zhejiang-California International NanoSystems Institute, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310014, P.R. China.