The targeting of the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is of particular interest for radiotheragnostic purposes of prostate cancer. Radiolabeled PSMA-617, a 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N′,N′′,N′′′-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-functionalized PSMA ligand, revealed favorable kinetics with high tumor uptake, enabling its successful application for PET imaging (68Ga) and radionuclide therapy (177Lu) in the clinics. In this study, PSMA-617 was labeled with cyclotron-produced 44Sc (T1/2 = 4.04 h) and investigated preclinically for its use as a diagnostic match to 177Lu-PSMA-617.Results
44Sc was produced at the research cyclotron at PSI by irradiation of enriched 44Ca targets, followed by chromatographic separation. 44Sc-PSMA-617 was prepared under standard labeling conditions at elevated temperature resulting in a radiochemical purity of >97% at a specific activity of up to 10 MBq/nmol. 44Sc-PSMA-617 was evaluated in vitro and compared to the 177Lu- and 68Ga-labeled match, as well as 68Ga-PSMA-11 using PSMA-positive PC-3 PIP and PSMA-negative PC-3 flu prostate cancer cells. In these experiments it revealed similar in vitro properties to that of 177Lu- and 68Ga-labeled PSMA-617. Moreover, 44Sc-PSMA-617 bound specifically to PSMA-expressing PC-3 PIP tumor cells, while unspecific binding to PC-3 flu cells was not observed. The radioligands were investigated with regard to their in vivo properties in PC-3 PIP/flu tumor-bearing mice. 44Sc-PSMA-617 showed high tumor uptake and a fast renal excretion. The overall tissue distribution of 44Sc-PSMA-617 resembled that of 177Lu-PSMA-617 most closely, while the 68Ga-labeled ligands, in particular 68Ga-PSMA-11, showed different distribution kinetics. 44Sc-PSMA-617 enabled distinct visualization of PC-3 PIP tumor xenografts shortly after injection, with increasing tumor-to-background contrast over time while unspecific uptake in the PC-3 flu tumors was not observed.Conclusions
The in vitro characteristics and in vivo kinetics of 44Sc-PSMA-617 were more similar to 177Lu-PSMA-617 than to 68Ga-PSMA-617 and 68Ga-PSMA-11. Due to the almost four-fold longer half-life of 44Sc as compared to 68Ga, a centralized production of 44Sc-PSMA-617 and transport to satellite PET centers would be feasible. These features make 44Sc-PSMA-617 particularly appealing for clinical application.
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