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Comparative study of 64Cu/NOTA-[D-Tyr6,βAla11,Thi13,Nle14]BBN(6-14) monomer and dimers for prostate cancer PET imaging

Patrick Fournier1, Véronique Dumulon-Perreault1, Samia Ait-Mohand1, Réjean Langlois1, François Bénard2, Roger Lecomte1 and Brigitte Guérin1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre d'imagerie moléculaire de Sherbrooke (CIMS), Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology, Université de Sherbrooke, 3001, 12th North Avenue, Sherbrooke, Quebec, J1H 5N4, Canada

2 BC Cancer Agency Research Centre, 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1L3, Canada

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EJNMMI Research 2012, 2:8  doi:10.1186/2191-219X-2-8

Published: 14 February 2012



Gastrin-releasing peptide receptors [GRPR] are highly over-expressed in multiple cancers and have been studied as a diagnostic target. Multimeric gastrin-releasing peptides are expected to have enhanced tumor uptake and affinity for GRPR. In this study, a 64Cu-labeled 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid [NOTA]-monomer and two NOTA-dimers of [D-Tyr6,βAla11, Thi13, Nle14]bombesin(6-14) ] [BBN(6-14)] were compared.


Monomeric and dimeric peptides were synthesized on solid phase support and radiolabeled with 64Cu. NOTA-dimer 1 consists of asymmetrically linked BBN(6-14), while NOTA-dimer 2 has similar spacer between the two BBN(6-14) ligands and the chelator. In vitro GRPR-binding affinities were determined with competitive binding assays on PC3 human prostate cancer cells. In vivo stability and biodistribution of radiolabeled compounds were assessed in Balb/c mice. Cellular uptake and efflux were measured with radiolabeled NOTA-monomer and NOTA-dimer 2 on PC3 cells for up to 4 h. In vivo biodistribution kinetics were measured in PC3 tumor-bearing Balb/c nude mice by μ-positron emission tomography [μPET] imaging and confirmed by dissection and counting.


NOTA-monomer, NOTA-dimers 1 and 2 were prepared with purity of 99%. The inhibition constants of the three BBN peptides were comparable and in the low nanomolar range. All 64Cu-labeled peptides were stable up to 24 h in mouse plasma and 1 h in vivo. 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 2 featuring a longer spacer between the two BBN(6-14) ligands is a more potent GRPR-targeting probe than 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 1. PC3 tumor uptake profiles are slightly different for 64Cu/NOTA-monomer and 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 2; the monomeric BBN-peptide tracer exhibited higher tumor uptake during the first 0.5 h and a fast renal clearance resulting in higher tumor-to-muscle ratio when compared to 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 2. The latter exhibited higher tumor-to-blood ratio and was retained longer at the tumor site when compared to 64Cu/NOTA-monomer. Lower ratios of tumor-to-blood and tumor-to-muscle in blocking experiments showed GRPR-dependant tumor uptake for both tracers.


Both 64Cu/NOTA-monomer and 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 2 are suitable for detecting GRPR-positive prostate cancer in vivo by PET. Tumor retention was improved in vivo with 64Cu/NOTA-dimer 2 by applying polyvalency effect and/or statistical rebinding.

Bombesin; homo-dimer; 64Cu; PET imaging; gastrin-releasing peptide receptors; PC3 tumor.