MicroPET imaging of breast cancer using radiolabeled bombesin analogs targeting the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor

Jesse J. Parry, Rebecca Andrews, Buck E. Rogers

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82 Scopus citations


Mammography is a well-established method for detecting primary breast cancer; however, it has some limitations that may be overcome using nuclear imaging methods. Current radiopharmaceuticals have limited sensitivity for detecting small primary lesions and it has been suggested that novel radiopharmaceuticals are necessary for detection of primary breast cancer, as well as for detecting metastases and recurrence, or for monitoring therapy. The gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) is a seven-transmembrane G-protein coupled receptor that is overexpressed on primary breast cancer and lymph node metastases. Bombesin (BN) is a tetradecapeptide that binds with high affinity to GRPR and can be radiolabeled with the positron-emitter, copper-64 ( 64Cu) for imaging with positron-emission tomography (PET). The goal of this study was to evaluate BN analogs that could be radiolabeled with 64Cu for PET imaging of breast cancer. A series of BN analogs containing 4, 5, 6, 8, and 12- carbon linkers were evaluated with regard to their binding and internalization into T-47D human breast cancer cells. The 64Cu-labeled analogs were then evaluated in mice bearing T-47D xenografts by tissue biodistribution and microPET imaging. These studies showed that all of the analogs had IC50 values <100 nM and were all internalized into T-47D cells. Biodistribution studies showed that the BN analog with the 8-carbon linker not only had the highest tumor uptake but also had high normal tissue uptake in the liver. The analogs containing the 6- or 8-carbon linkers demonstrated good tumor uptake as determined by microPET imaging. Overall, this study shows the feasibility of using positron-labeled BN analogs for PET detection of GRPR-expressing breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Bombesin
  • Copper-64
  • Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor
  • PET imaging


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