Current clinical imaging of PSMA-positive prostate cancer by positron emission tomography (PET) mainly features 68Ga-labeled tracers, notably [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-HBED-CC. The longer half-life of fluorine-18 offers significant advantages over Ga-68, clinically and logistically. We aimed to develop high-affinity PSMA inhibitors labeled with fluorine-18 as alternative tracers for prostate cancer.Methods
Six triazolylphenyl ureas and their alkyne precursors were synthesized from the Glu-urea-Lys PSMA binding moiety. PSMA affinity was determined in a competitive binding assay using LNCaP cells. The [18F]triazoles were isolated following a Cu(I)-catalyzed click reaction between the alkynes and [18F]fluoroethylazide. The 18F-labeled compounds were evaluated in nude mice bearing LNCaP tumors and compared to [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-HBED-CC and [18F]DCFPyL. Biodistribution studies of the two tracers with the highest imaged-derived tumor uptake and highest PSMA affinity were undertaken at 1 h, 2 h and 4 h post-injection (p.i.), and co-administration of PMPA was used to determine whether uptake was PSMA-specific.Results
F-18-labeled triazolylphenyl ureas were prepared with a decay-corrected RCY of 20–40 %, >98 % radiochemical and chemical purity, and specific activity of up to 391 GBq/μmol. PSMA binding (IC50) ranged from 3–36 nM. The position of the triazole influenced tumor uptake (3 > 4 > 2), and direct conjugation of the triazole with the phenylurea moiety was preferred to insertion of a spacer group. Image-derived tumor uptake ranged from 6–14 %ID/g at 2 h p.i., the time of maximum tumor uptake; uptake of [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-HBED-CC and [18F]DCFPyL was 5–6 %ID/g at 1–3 h p.i., the time of maximum tumor uptake. Biodistribution studies of the two most promising compounds gave maximum tumor uptakes of 10.9 ± 1.0 % and 14.3 ± 2.5 %ID/g, respectively, as compared to 6.27 ± 1.44 %ID/g for [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-HBED-CC.Conclusions
Six [18F]triazolylphenyl ureas were prepared in good radiochemical yield. Compounds showed PSMA-specific uptake in LNCaP tumors as high as 14 % ID/g, more than a 2-fold increase over [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-HBED-CC. The facile and high-yielding radiosynthesis of these 18F-labeled triazoles as well as their promising in vitro and in vivo characteristics make them worthy of clinical development for PET imaging of prostate cancer.
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