Side-Chain Modified [99mTc]Tc-DT1 Mimics: A Comparative Study in NTS1R-Positive Models

Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Berthold A. Nock, Maritina Rouchota, George Loudos, Eric P. Krenning, Theodosia Maina*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Radiolabeled neurotensin analogs have been developed as candidates for theranostic use against neurotensin subtype 1 receptor (NTS1R)-expressing cancer. However, their fast degradation by two major peptidases, neprilysin (NEP) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), has hitherto limited clinical success. We have recently shown that palmitoylation at the ε-amine of Lys7 in [99mTc]Tc-[Lys7]DT1 (DT1, N4-Gly-Arg-Arg-Pro-Tyr-Ile-Leu-OH, N4 = 6-(carboxy)-1,4,8,11-tetraazaundecane) led to the fully stabilized [99mTc]Tc-DT9 analog, displaying high uptake in human pancreatic cancer AsPC-1 xenografts but unfavorable pharmacokinetics in mice. Aiming to improve the in vivo stability of [99mTc]Tc-DT1 without compromising pharmacokinetics, we now introduce three new [99mTc]Tc-DT1 mimics, carrying different pendant groups at the ε-amine of Lys7: MPBA (4-(4-methylphenyl)butyric acid)—[99mTc]Tc-DT10; MPBA via a PEG4-linker—[99mTc]Tc-DT11; or a hydrophilic PEG6 chain—[99mTc]Tc-DT12. The impact of these modifications on receptor affinity and internalization was studied in NTS1R-positive cells. The effects on stability and AsPC-1 tumor uptake were assessed in mice without or during NEP/ACE inhibition. Unlike [99mTc]Tc-DT10, the longer-chain modified [99mTc]Tc-DT11 and [99mTc]Tc-DT12 were significantly stabilized in vivo, resulting in markedly improved tumor uptake compared to [99mTc]Tc-DT1. [99mTc]Tc-DT11 was found to achieve the highest AsPC-1 tumor values and good pharmacokinetics, either without or during NEP inhibition, qualifying for further validation in patients with NTS1R-positive tumors using SPECT/CT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15541
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2023

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