Purpose: In recent years, considerable progress has been made in the use of gallium-68 labeled receptor-specific peptides for imaging oncologic diseases. The objective was to examine the stability and pharmacokinetics of [68Ga]NODAGA and DOTA-peptide conjugate targeting VPAC [combined for vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP)] receptors on tumor cells.
Procedures: A VPAC receptor-specific peptide was chosen as a model peptide and conjugated to NODAGA and DOTA via solid-phase synthesis. The conjugates were characterized by HPLC and MALDI-TOF. Following Ga-68 chelation, the radiochemical purity of Ga-68 labeled peptide conjugate was determined by radio-HPLC. The stability was tested against transmetallation using 100 nM Fe3+/Zn2+/Ca2+ ionic solution and against transchelation using 200 μM DTPA solution. The ex vivo and in vivo stability of the Ga-68 labeled peptide conjugate was tested in mouse plasma and urine. Receptor specificity was determined ex vivo by cell binding assays using human breast cancer BT474 cells. Positron emission tomography (PET)/X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging, tissue distribution, and blocking studies were performed in mice bearing BT474 xenografts.