Macrocyclic chelator-coupled gastrin-based radiopharmaceuticals for targeting of gastrin receptor-expressing tumours

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2008 Oct;35(10):1868-77. doi: 10.1007/s00259-008-0803-4. Epub 2008 May 29.


Purpose: Diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid (DTPA)-coupled minigastrins are unsuitable for therapeutic application with the available beta-emitting radiometals due to low complex stability. Low tumour-to-kidney ratio of the known radiopharmaceuticals is further limiting their potency. We used macrocyclic chelators for coupling to increase complex stability, modified the peptide sequence to enhance radiolytic stability and studied tumour-to-kidney ratio and metabolic stability using (111)In-labelled derivatives.

Methods: Gastrin derivatives with decreasing numbers of glutamic acids were synthesised using (111)In as surrogate for therapeutic radiometals for in vitro and in vivo studies. Gastrin receptor affinities of the (nat)In-metallated compounds were determined by receptor autoradiography using (125)I-CCK as radioligand. Internalisation was evaluated in AR4-2J cells. Enzymatic stability was determined by incubating the (111)In-labelled peptides in human serum. Biodistribution was performed in AR4-2J-bearing Lewis rats.

Results: IC(50) values of the (nat)In-metallated gastrin derivatives vary between 1.2 and 4.8 nmol/L for all methionine-containing derivatives. Replacement of methionine by norleucine, isoleucine, methionine-sulfoxide and methionine-sulfone resulted in significant decrease of receptor affinity (IC(50) between 9.9 and 1,195 nmol/L). All cholecystokinin receptor affinities were >100 nmol/L. All (111)In-labelled radiopeptides showed receptor-specific internalisation. Serum mean-life times varied between 2.0 and 72.6 h, positively correlating with the number of Glu residues. All (111)In-labelled macrocyclic chelator conjugates showed higher tumour-to-kidney ratios after 24 h (0.37-0.99) compared to (111)In-DTPA-minigastrin 0 (0.05). Tumour wash out between 4 and 24 h was low. Imaging studies confirmed receptor-specific blocking of the tumour uptake.

Conclusions: Reducing the number of glutamates increased tumour-to-kidney ratio but resulted in lower metabolic stability. The properties of the macrocyclic chelator-bearing derivatives make them potentially suitable for clinical purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Gastrins / chemistry
  • Gastrins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Macrocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Macrocyclic Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pentetic Acid / chemistry*
  • Pentetic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemical synthesis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Receptor, Cholecystokinin B / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Chelating Agents
  • Gastrins
  • Macrocyclic Compounds
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptor, Cholecystokinin B
  • minigastrin
  • Pentetic Acid