, 2:24,
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Date: 09 Jun 2012

PEGylation, increasing specific activity and multiple dosing as strategies to improve the risk-benefit profile of targeted radionuclide therapy with 177Lu-DOTA-bombesin analogues

Abstract

Background

Radiolabelled bombesin (BN) conjugates are promising radiotracers for imaging and therapy of breast and prostate tumours, in which BN2/gastrin-releasing peptide receptors are overexpressed. We describe the influence of the specific activity of a 177Lu-DOTA-PEG5k-Lys-B analogue on its therapeutic efficacy and compare it with its non-PEGylated counterpart.

Methods

Derivatisation of a stabilised DOTA-BN(7–14)[Cha13,Nle14] analogue with a linear PEG molecule of 5 kDa (PEG5k) was performed by PEGylation of the ϵ-amino group of a β3hLys-βAla-βAla spacer between the BN sequence and the DOTA chelator. The non-PEGylated and the PEGylated analogues were radiolabelled with 177Lu. In vitro evaluation was performed in human prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells, and in vivo studies were carried out in nude mice bearing PC-3 tumour xenografts. Different specific activities of the PEGylated BN analogue and various dose regimens were evaluated concerning their therapeutic efficacy.

Results

The specificity and the binding affinity of the BN analogue for BN2/GRP receptors were only slightly reduced by PEGylation. In vitro binding kinetics of the PEGylated analogue was slower since steady-state condition was reached after 4 h. PEGylation improved the stability of BN conjugate in vitro in human plasma by a factor of 5.6. The non-PEGylated BN analogue showed favourable pharmacokinetics already, i.e. fast blood clearance and renal excretion, but PEGylation improved the in vivo behaviour further. One hour after injection, the tumour uptake of the PEG5k-BN derivative was higher compared with that of the non-PEGylated analogue (3.43 ± 0.63% vs. 1.88 ± 0.4% ID/g). Moreover, the increased tumour retention resulted in a twofold higher tumour accumulation at 24 h p.i., and increased tumour-to-non-target ratios (tumour-to-kidney, 0.6 vs. 0.4; tumour-to-liver, 8.8 vs. 5.9, 24 h p.i.). In the therapy study, both 177Lu-labelled BN analogues significantly inhibited tumour growth. The therapeutic efficacy was highest for the PEGylated derivative of high specific activity administered in two fractions (2 × 20 MBq = 40 MBq) at day 0 and day 7 (73% tumour growth inhibition, 3 weeks after therapy).

Conclusions

PEGylation and increasing the specific activity enhance the pharmacokinetic properties of a 177Lu-labelled BN-based radiopharmaceutical and provide a protocol for targeted radionuclide therapy with a beneficial anti-tumour effectiveness and a favourable risk-profile at the same time.