Imaging CXCR4 Expression with Iodinated and Brominated Cyclam Derivatives

Hanwen Zhang, Masatomo Maeda, Masahiro Shindo, Myat Ko, Mayuresh Mane, Christian Grommes, Wolfgang Weber, Ronald Blasberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: CXCR4 is one of several “chemokine” receptors expressed on malignant tumors (including GBM and PCNSL) and hematopoietic stem cells. Although 68Ga-pentixafor and 68Ga-NOTA-NFB have been shown to effectively image CXCR4 expression in myeloma and other systemic malignancies, imaging CXCR4 expression in brain tumors has been more limited due to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and a considerable fraction of CXCR4 staining is intracellular. Methods: We synthesized 6 iodinated and brominated cyclam derivatives with high affinity (low nM range) for CXCR4, since structure-based estimates of lipophilicity suggested rapid transfer across the BBB and tumor cell membranes. Results: We tested 3 iodinated and 3 brominated cyclam derivatives in several CXCR4(+) and CXCR4(−) cell lines, with and without cold ligand blocking. To validate these novel radiolabeled cyclam derivatives for diagnostic CXCR4 imaging efficacy in brain tumors, we established appropriated murine models of intracranial GBM and PCNSL. Based on initial studies, 131I-HZ262 and 76Br-HZ270-1 were shown to be the most avidly accumulated radioligands. 76Br-HZ270-1 was selected for further study in the U87-CXCR4 and PCNSL #15 intracranial tumor models, because of its high uptake (9.5 ± 1.3 %ID/g, SD) and low non-specific uptake (1.6 ± 0.7 %ID/g, SD) in the s.c. U87-CXCR4 tumor models. However, imaging CXCR4 expression in intracranial U87-CXCR4 and PCNSL #15 tumors with 76Br-HZ270-1 was unsuccessful, following either i.v. or spinal-CSF injection. Conclusions: Imaging CXCR4 expression with halogenated cyclam derivatives was successful in s.c. located tumors, but not in CNS located tumors. This was largely due to the following: (i) the hydrophilicity of the radiolabeled analogues—as reflected in the “measured” radiotracer distribution (LogD) in octanol/PBS—which stands in contrast to the structure-based estimate of LogP, which was the rationale for initiating the study and (ii) the presence of a modest BTB in intracranial U87-CXCR4 gliomas and an intact BBB/BTB in the intracranial PCNSL animal model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1196
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • CXCR4
  • PET imaging
  • Radiolabeled cyclam derivatives


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