Chemokine ligand-receptor interactions play a pivotal role in cell attraction and cellular trafficking, both in normal tissue homeostasis and in disease. In cancer, chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4) expression is an adverse prognostic factor. Early clinical studies suggest that targeting CXCR4 with suitable high-affinity antagonists might be a novel means for therapy. In addition to the preclinical evaluation of [(68)Ga]Pentixafor in mice bearing human lymphoma xenografts as an exemplary CXCR4-expressing tumor entity, we report on the first clinical applications of [(68)Ga]Pentixafor-Positron Emission Tomography as a powerful method for CXCR4 imaging in cancer patients. [(68)Ga]Pentixafor binds with high affinity and selectivity to human CXCR4 and exhibits a favorable dosimetry. [(68)Ga]Pentixafor-PET provides images with excellent specificity and contrast. This non-invasive imaging technology for quantitative assessment of CXCR4 expression allows to further elucidate the role of CXCR4/CXCL12 ligand interaction in the pathogenesis and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
Keywords: CXCR4; chemokine receptor; lymphoma, in vivo imaging; positron emission tomography.