Shi J, Liu TW, Chen J, Green D, Jaffray D, Wilson BC, Wang F & Zheng G
Porphyrin based photosensitizers are useful agents for photodynamic therapy (PDT) and fluorescence imaging of cancer. Porphyrins are also excellent metal chelators forming highly stable metallo-complexes making them efficient delivery vehicles for radioisotopes. Here we investigated the possibility of incorporating 64Cu into a porphyrin-peptide-folate (PPF) probe developed previously as folate receptor (FR) targeted fluorescent/PDT agent, and evaluated the potential of turning the resulting 64Cu-PPF into a positron emission tomography (PET) probe for cancer imaging. Noninvasive PET imaging followed by radioassay evaluated the tumor accumulation, pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of 64Cu-PPF. 64Cu-PPF uptake in FR-positive tumors was visible on small-animal PET images with high tumor-to-muscle ratio (8.88 ± 3.60) observed after 24 h. Competitive blocking studies confirmed the FR-mediated tracer uptake by the tumor. The ease of efficient 64Cu-radiolabeling of PPF while retaining its favorable biodistribution, pharmacokinetics and selective tumor uptake, provides a robust strategy to transform tumor-targeted porphyrin-based photosensitizers into PET imaging probes.