PET imaging of prostate cancer xenografts with a highly specific antibody against the prostate-specific membrane antigen

Ursula Elsässer-Beile, Gerald Reischl, Stefan Wiehr, Patrick Bühler, Philipp Wolf, Karen Alt, John Shively, Martin S. Judenhofer, Hans Jürgen Machulla, Bernd J. Pichler

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84 Citations (Scopus)


Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a transmembrane glycoprotein, is highly expressed by virtually all prostate cancers and is currently the focus of several diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. We have previously reported on the generation of several monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and antibody fragments that recognize and bind with high affinity to the extracellular domain of cell-adherent PSMA. This article reports the in vivo behavior and tumor uptake of the radiolabeled anti-PSMA mAb 3/A12 and its potential as a tracer for PET. Methods: The mAb 3/A12 was conjugated with the chelating agent 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N′,N″,N‴-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) and radiolabeled with 64Cu. Severe combined immunodeficient mice bearing PSMA-positive C4-2 prostate carcinoma xenografts were used for small-animal PET imaging. Mice with PSMA-negative DU 145 tumors served as controls. For PET studies, each animal received 20-30 mg of radiolabeled mAb corresponding to an activity of 7.6-11.5 MBq. Imaging was performed 3,24, and 48 h after injection. After the last scan, the mice were sacrificed and tracer in vivo biodistribution was measured by γ-counting. Results: Binding of the mAb 3/A12 on PSMA-expressing C4-2 cells was only minimally influenced by DOTA conjugation. The labeling efficiency using 64Cu and DOTA-3/A12 was 95.3% ± 0.3%. The specific activity after 64Cu labeling was between 327 and 567 MBq/mg. After tracer injection, static small-animal PET images of mice with PSMA-positive tumors revealed a tumor-to-background ratio of 3.3 ± 1.3 at 3 h, 7.8 ± 1.4 at 24 h, and 9.6 ± 2.7 at 48 h. In contrast, no significant tracer uptake occurred in the PSMA-negative DU 145 tumors. These results were confirmed by direct counting of tissues after the final imaging. Conclusion: Because of the high and specific uptake of 64Cu-labeled mAb 3/A12 in PSMA-positive tumors, this ligand represents an excellent candidate for prostate cancer imaging and potentially for radioimmunotherapy. COPYRIGHT

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-611
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • PET
  • Prostate-specific membrane antigen
  • Radioimmu-Noimaging
  • Tumor localization

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