INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to synthesize and perform a side-by-side comparison of two new tumor-angiogenesis PET tracers (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) and (64)Cu-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) in vivo using human xenograft tumors in mice. Human radiation burden was estimated to evaluate potential for future use as clinical PET tracers for imaging of neo-angiogenesis. METHODS: A (68)Ge/(68)Ga generator was used for the synthesis of (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2). (68)Ga and (64)Cu labeled NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) tracers were administrated in nude mice bearing either human glioblastoma (U87MG) or human neuroendocrine (H727) xenograft tumors. PET/CT scans at 3 time points were used for calculating the tracer uptake in tumors (%ID/g), integrin αVβ3 target specificity was shown by blocking with cold NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2), and biodistribution in normal organs were also examined. From biodistribution data in mice human radiation-absorbed doses were estimated using OLINDA/EXM software. RESULTS: (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) was synthesized with a radiochemical purity of 89%-99% and a specific activity (SA) of 16-153 MBq/nmol. (64)Cu-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) had a purity of 92%-99% and an SA of 64-78 MBq/nmol. Both tracers showed similar uptake in xenograft tumors 1h after injection (U87MG: 2.23 vs. 2.31%ID/g; H727: 1.53 vs. 1.48%ID/g). Both RGD dimers showed similar tracer uptake in non-tumoral tissues and a human radiation burden of less than 10 mSv with an administered dose of 200 MBq was estimated. CONCLUSION: (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) and (64)Cu-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) can be easily synthesized and are both promising candidates for PET imaging of integrin αVβ3 positive tumor cells. (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) showed slightly more stable tumor retention. With the advantage of in-house commercially (68)Ge/(68)Ga generators, (68)Ga-NODAGA-E[c(RGDyK)](2) may be the best choice for future clinical PET imaging in humans.
Nuclear Medicine and Biology, 2014, Vol 41, Issue 3, p. 259-67