Synthesis and Evaluation of New Bifunctional Chelators with Phosphonic Acid Arms for Gallium-68 Based PET Imaging in Melanoma

Yongkang Gai, Lingyi Sun, Xiaoli Lan, Dexing Zeng, Guangya Xiang, Xiang Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Due to the increasing use of generator-produced radiometal Gallium-68 (68Ga) in positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), reliable bifunctional chelators that can efficiently incorporate 68Ga3+ into biomolecules are highly desirable. In this study, we synthesized two new bifunctional chelators bearing one or two phosphonic acid functional groups, named p-SCN-PhPr-NE2A1P and p-SCN-PhPr-NE2P1A, with the aim of enabling facile production of 68Ga-based radiopharmaceuticals. Both chelators were successfully conjugated to LLP2A-PEG4, a very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) targeting peptidomimetic ligand, to evaluate their application in 68Ga-based PET imaging. NE2P1A-PEG4-LLP2A exhibited the highest 68Ga3+ binding ability with molar activity of 37 MBq/nmol under mild temperature and neutral pH. Excellent serum stability of 68Ga-NE2P1A-PEG4-LLP2A was observed, which was consistent with the result obtained from density functional theory calculation. The in vitro cell study showed that 68Ga-NE2P1A-PEG4-LLP2A had significantly longer retention in B16F10 cells comparing to the reported retention of 64Cu-NE3TA-PEG4-LLP2A, although the uptake was relatively lower. In the biodistribution and micro-PET/CT imaging studies, high tumor uptake and low background were observed after 68Ga-NE2P1A-PEG4-LLP2A was injected into mice bearing B16F10 tumor xenografts, making it a highly promising radiotracer for noninvasive imaging of VLA-4 receptors overexpressed in melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3483-3494
Number of pages12
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 17 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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