A novel [F-18]-labeled cholesteryl ether lipid probe was prepared by synthesis of the corresponding mesylate, which was [F-18]-fluorinated by a [F-18]KF, Kryptofix-222, K2CO3 procedure. Fluorination was done for 10 minutes at 165 degrees C and took place with conversion between 3 and 17%, depending on conditions. Radiolabelling of the probe and subsequent in situ purification on SEP-Paks were done on a custom-built, fully automatic synthesis robot. Long-circulating liposomes were prepared by hydration (magnetic stirring) of a lipid film containing the radiolabeled probe, followed by fully automated extrusion through 100-nm filters. The [F-18]-labeled liposomes were injected into nude, tumor-bearing mice, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans were performed several times over 8 hours to investigate the in vivo biodistribution. Clear tumor accumulation, as well as hepatic and splenic uptake, was observed, corresponding to expected liposomal pharmacokinetics. The tumor accumulation 8 hours postinjection accounted for 2.25 +/- 0.23 (mean +/- standard error of the mean) percent of injected dose per gram (%ID/g), and the tumor-to-muscle ratio reached 2.20 +/- 0.24 after 8 hours, which is satisfactorily high for visualization of pathological lesions. Moreover, the blood concentration was still at a high level (13.9 +/- 1.5 %ID/g) at the end of the 8-hour time frame. The present work demonstrates the methodology for automated preparation of radiolabeled liposomes, and shows that [F-18]-labeled liposomes could be suitable as a methodology for visualization of tumors and obtaining short-term pharmacokinetics in vivo.
Journal of Liposome Research, 2012, Vol 22, Issue 4, p. 295-305