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Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(1), 31;

2-Nitroimidazole-Furanoside Derivatives for Hypoxia Imaging—Investigation of Nucleoside Transporter Interaction, 18F-Labeling and Preclinical PET Imaging

Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Röntgenweg 13, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Faculty of Chemistry, Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Vienna, Währingerstraße 38, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R7, Canada
Department of Dermatology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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The benefits of PET imaging of tumor hypoxia in patient management has been demonstrated in many examples and with various tracers over the last years. Although, the optimal hypoxia imaging agent has yet to be found, 2-nitroimidazole (azomycin) sugar derivatives—mimicking nucleosides—have proven their potential with [18F]FAZA ([18F]fluoro-azomycin-α-arabinoside) as a prominent representative in clinical use. Still, for all of these tracers, cellular uptake by passive diffusion is postulated with the disadvantage of slow kinetics and low tumor-to-background ratios. We recently evaluated [18F]fluoro-azomycin-β-deoxyriboside (β-[18F]FAZDR), with a structure more similar to nucleosides than [18F]FAZA and possible interaction with nucleoside transporters. For a deeper insight, we comparatively studied the interaction of FAZA, β-FAZA, α-FAZDR and β-FAZDR with nucleoside transporters (SLC29A1/2 and SLC28A1/2/3) in vitro, showing variable interactions of the compounds. The highest interactions being for β-FAZDR (IC50 124 ± 33 µM for SLC28A3), but also for FAZA with the non-nucleosidic α-configuration, the interactions were remarkable (290 ± 44 µM {SLC28A1}; 640 ± 10 µM {SLC28A2}). An improved synthesis was developed for β-FAZA. For a PET study in tumor-bearing mice, α-[18F]FAZDR was synthesized (radiochemical yield: 15.9 ± 9.0% (n = 3), max. 10.3 GBq, molar activity > 50 GBq/µmol) and compared to β-[18F]FAZDR and [18F]FMISO, the hypoxia imaging gold standard. We observed highest tumor-to-muscle ratios (TMR) for β-[18F]FAZDR already at 1 h p.i. (2.52 ± 0.94, n = 4) in comparison to [18F]FMISO (1.37 ± 0.11, n = 5) and α-[18F]FAZDR (1.93 ± 0.39, n = 4), with possible mediation by the involvement of nucleoside transporters. After 3 h p.i., TMR were not significantly different for all 3 tracers (2.5–3.0). Highest clearance from tumor tissue was observed for β-[18F]FAZDR (56.6 ± 6.8%, 2 h p.i.), followed by α-[18F]FAZDR (34.2 ± 7.5%) and [18F]FMISO (11.8 ± 6.5%). In conclusion, both isomers of [18F]FAZDR showed their potential as PET hypoxia tracers. Differences in uptake behavior may be attributed to a potential variable involvement of transport mechanisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: tumor hypoxia; PET; small animal imaging; azomycin nucleosides; [18F]FMISO tumor hypoxia; PET; small animal imaging; azomycin nucleosides; [18F]FMISO

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Maier, F.C.; Schweifer, A.; Damaraju, V.L.; Cass, C.E.; Bowden, G.D.; Ehrlichmann, W.; Kneilling, M.; Pichler, B.J.; Hammerschmidt, F.; Reischl, G. 2-Nitroimidazole-Furanoside Derivatives for Hypoxia Imaging—Investigation of Nucleoside Transporter Interaction, 18F-Labeling and Preclinical PET Imaging. Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12, 31.

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