Pretargeted positron emission tomography (PET) imaging based on the bioorthogonal inverse-electron-demand Diels-Alder reaction between tetrazines (Tz) and trans-cyclooctenes (TCO) has emerged as a promising tool for solid tumor imaging, allowing the use of short-lived radionuclides in immune-PET applications. With this strategy, it became possible to achieve desirable target-to-background ratios and at the same time to decrease the radiation burden to nontargeted tissues because of the fast clearance of small PET probes. Here, we show the synthesis of novel 18F-labeled dTCO-amide probes for pretargeted immuno-PET imaging. The PET probes were evaluated regarding their stability, reactivity toward tetrazine, and pharmacokinetic profile. [ 18 F]MICA-213 showed an extremely fast kinetic rate (10,553 M-1 s-1 in 50:50 MeOH/water), good stability in saline and plasma up to 4 h at 37 °C with no isomerization observed, and the biodistribution in healthy mice revealed a mixed hepatobiliary and renal clearance with no defluorination and low background in other tissues. [ 18 F]MICA-213 was further used for in vivo pretargeted immune-PET imaging carried out in nude mice bearing LS174T colorectal tumors that were previously treated with a tetrazine-modified anti-TAG-72 monoclonal antibody (CC49). Pretargeted μPET imaging results showed clear visualization of the tumor tissue with a significantly higher uptake when compared to the control.
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