Synthesis and evaluation of novel gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor-targeting peptides

Bioconjug Chem. 2011 Aug 17;22(8):1682-9. doi: 10.1021/bc200252j. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


The purpose of this study was to develop novel radiolabeled gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor-targeting peptides for breast cancer imaging. Three novel 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-conjugated GnRH peptides were designed and synthesized. The radiometal chelator DOTA was conjugated to the epsilon or alpha amino group of D-lysine, or the epsilon amino group of L-lysine via an Ahx {aminohexanoic acid} linker to generate DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1), DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH2) and DOTA-Ahx-(L-Lys(6)-GnRH3), respectively. The conjugation of the DOTA to the epsilon amino group of D-lysine (rather than alpha amino group of D-lysine nor epsilon amino group of L-lysine) maintained the nanomolar GnRH receptor binding affinity. The IC(50) values of DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1), DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH2) and DOTA-Ahx-(L-Lys(6)-GnRH3) were 36.1 nM, 10.6 mM and 4.3 mM, respectively. Since only DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1) displayed nanomolar receptor binding affinity, the specific GnRH receptor binding of (111)In-DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1) was determined in human GnRH receptor membrane preparations. Furthermore, the biodistribution and tumor imaging properties of (111)In-DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1) were examined in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer-xenografted nude mice. (111)In-DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1) exhibited specific GnRH receptor binding and rapid tumor uptake (1.76 ± 0.58% ID/g at 0.5 h postinjection) coupled with fast whole-body clearance through the urinary system. The MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer-xenografted tumor lesions were clearly visualized by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/CT at 1 h postinjection of (111)In-DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1). The profound impact of DOTA position on the binding affinity of the GnRH peptide provided a new insight into the design of novel radiolabeled GnRH peptides. The successful imaging of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer-xenografted tumor lesions using (111)In-DOTA-Ahx-(D-Lys(6)-GnRH1) suggested its potential as a novel imaging probe for human breast cancer imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Peptides* / chemical synthesis
  • Peptides* / chemistry
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemical synthesis
  • Receptors, LHRH / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • GNRHR protein, human
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Peptides
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptors, LHRH