Gastrin-releasing peptide receptors (GRPRs) are overexpressed in prostate cancer and are suitable for targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT). We optimized the bombesin-derived GRPR-antagonist PEG2-RM26 for labeling with 177Lu and further determined the effect of treatment with 177Lu-labeled peptide alone or in combination with the anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab in a murine model. The PEG2-RM26 analog was coupled to NOTA, NODAGA, DOTA and DOTAGA chelators. The peptide-chelator conjugates were labeled with 177Lu and characterized in vitro and in vivo. A preclinical therapeutic study was performed in PC-3 xenografted mice. Mice were treated with intravenous injections (6 cycles) of (A) PBS, (B) DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26, (C) 177LuDOTAGA-PEG2-RM26, (D) trastuzumab or (E) 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26 in combination with trastuzumab. 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2- RM26 demonstrated quantitative labeling yield at high molar activity (450 GBq/μmol), high in vivo stability (5 min pi >98% of radioligand remained when coinjected with phosphoramidon), high affinity to GRPR (KD = 0.4 0.2 nM), and favorable biodistribution (1 hr pi tumor uptake was higher than in healthy tissues, including the kidneys). Therapy with 177Lu-DOTAGAPEG2-RM26 induced a significant inhibition of tumor growth. The median survival for control groups was significantly shorter than for treated groups (Group C 66 days, Group E 74 days). Trastuzumab together with radionuclide therapy significantly improved survival. No treatment-related toxicity was observed. In conclusion, based on in vitro and in vivo characterization of the four 177Lu-labeled PEG2-RM26 analogs, we concluded that 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26 was the most promising analog for TRT. Radiotherapy using 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26 effectively inhibited tumor growth in vivo in a murine prostate cancer model. Anti-HER2 therapy additionally improved survival.

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International Journal of Cancer
Department of Radiology

Mitran, B., Rinne, S.S., Konijnenberg, M., Maina, T., Nock, B., Altai, M., … Orlova, A. (2019). Trastuzumab cotreatment improves survival of mice with PC-3 prostate cancer xenografts treated with the GRPR antagonist Lu-177-DOTAGA-PEG(2)-RM26. International Journal of Cancer, 145(12), 3347–3358. doi:10.1002/ijc.32401