Lo P, Chen J, Stefflova K, Warren MS, Navab R, Bandarchi B, Mullins S, Tsao M, Cheng JD & Zheng G
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2009
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a cell-surface serine protease highly expressed on cancer-associated fibroblasts of human epithelial carcinomas but not on normal fibroblasts, normal tissues, and cancer cells. We report herein a novel FAP-triggered photodynamic molecular beacon (FAP-PPB) comprising a fluorescent photosensitizer and a black hole quencher 3 linked by a peptide sequence (TSGPNQEQK) specific to FAP. FAP-PPB was effectively cleaved by both human FAP and murine FAP. By use of the HEK293 transfected cells (HEK-mFAP, FAP+; HEK-vector, FAP−), systematic in vitro and in vivo experiments validated the FAP-specific activation of FAP-PPB in cancer cells and mouse xenografts, respectively. FAP-PPB was cleaved by FAP, allowing fluorescence restoration in FAP-expressing cells while leaving non-expressing FAP cells undetectable. Moreover, FAP-PPB showed FAP-specific photocytotoxicity toward HEK-mFAP cells whereas it was non-cytotoxic toward HEK-Vector cells. This study suggests that the FAP-PPB is a potentially useful tool for epithelial cancer detection and treatment.