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GRP Receptor Imaging of Prostate Cancer Using [99mTc]Demobesin 4: a First-in-Man Study



We explored the imaging of bombesin receptors and evaluated the clinical use of [99mTc]Demobesin 4 ([99mTc]DB4) in prostate cancer patients.


[99mTc]DB4 was prepared according to Good Manufacturing Practice. Patients with prostate cancer underwent serial planar and SPECT imaging up to 3 h after administration. Blood and urine samples were taken to assess pharmacokinetics.


[99mTc]DB4 is safe and clears rapidly from the bloodstream via the kidneys resulting in low background activity. The tracer binds strongly to the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in vivo as indicated by the high uptake in the pancreas seen in all patients. In patients who had undergone hormone therapy, [99mTc]DB4 did not efficiently image metastatic prostate cancer. In contrast, in newly diagnosed patients local disease was visualised.


The GRPR is an unsuitable target for imaging refractory prostate cancer but may be useful in untreated disease. [99mTc]DB4 is a promising radiopharmaceutical which merits further exploration in this specific group of patients.

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We gratefully acknowledge the help of Beverley Holman with dosimetry calculations, the financial support of Cancer Research UK and the assistance of the Radiopharmacy Department of St Bartholomews Hospital, London.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest

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Correspondence to Stephen J. Mather.

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Mather, S.J., Nock, B.A., Maina, T. et al. GRP Receptor Imaging of Prostate Cancer Using [99mTc]Demobesin 4: a First-in-Man Study. Mol Imaging Biol 16, 888–895 (2014).

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Key words

  • GRP receptor
  • Peptide
  • Imaging
  • Tc-99m