4 years ago

Ultrasmall Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoprobe Targeting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor for In Vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Ultrasmall Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoprobe Targeting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor for In Vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Xue Li, Yan Chen, Thomas D. Wang, Rork Kuick, Kevin Heist, Quan Zhou, Fa Wang, Scott R. Owens
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common worldwide cancer that is rising rapidly in incidence. MRI is a powerful noninvasive imaging modality for HCC detection, but lack of specific contrast agents limits visualization of small tumors. EGFR is frequently overexpressed in HCC and is a promising target. Peptides have fast binding kinetics, short circulatory half-life, low imaging background, high vascular permeability, and enhanced tissue diffusion for deep tumor penetration. We demonstrate a peptide specific for EGFR labeled with an ultrasmall paramagnetic iron oxide (UPIO) nanoparticle with 3.5 nm dimensions to target HCC using T1-weighted MRI. We modified the hydrophobic core with oleic acid and capped with PEGylated phospholipids DSPE-PEG and DSPE-PEG-Mal. The EGFR peptide is attached via thioether-mediated conjugation of a GGGSC linker to the maleimide-terminated phospholipids. On in vivo MR images of HCC xenograft tumors, we observed peak nanoprobe uptake at 2 h post-injection followed by a rapid return to baseline by ∼24 h. We measured significantly greater MR signal in tumor with the targeted nanoprobe versus scrambled peptide, blocked peptide, and Gadoteridol. Segmented regions on MR images support rapid renal clearance. No significant difference in animal weight, necropsy, hematology, and chemistry was found between treatment and control groups at one month post-injection. Our nanoprobe based on an EGFR specific peptide labeled with UPIO designed for high stability and biocompatibility showed rapid tumor uptake and systemic clearance to demonstrate safety and promise for clinical translation to detect early HCC.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.7b00501

DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.7b00501

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