Purpose: Tryptophan metabolism via indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO)-mediated kynurenine pathway plays a role in immunomodulation and has been emerging as a plausible target for cancer immunotherapy. Imaging IDO-mediated kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism with positron emission tomography (PET) could provide valuable information for noninvasive assessment of cancer immunotherapy response. In this work, radiotracer 1-(2-[18F]fluoroethyl)-L-tryptophan (1-L-[18F]FETrp) and its enantioisomer 1-D-[18F]FETrp were synthesized and evaluated for PET imaging of IDO-mediated kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism. Procedures: Enantiopure 1-L-[18F]FETrp and 1-D-[18F]FETrp were prepared by a nucleophilic reaction of N-boc-1-(2-tosylethyl) tryptophan tert-butyl ester with [18F]Fluoride, followed by acid hydrolysis in a GE Tracerlab FX-N module. In vitro cell uptake assays were performed with a breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. Small animal PET/computed tomography (CT) imaging was carried out in a mouse model bearing MDA-MB-231 xenografts. Results: Automatic radiosynthesis of 1-L-[18F]FETrp and 1-D-[18F]FETrp was achieved by a one-pot two-step approach in 19.0 ± 7.0 and 9.0 ± 3.0 % (n = 3) decay-corrected yield with radiochemical purity over 99 %, respectively. In vitro cell uptake study indicated the uptake of 1-D-[18F]FETrp in MDA-MB-231 cells was 0.73 ± 0.07 %/mg of protein at 60 min, while, the corresponding uptake of 1-L-[18F]FETrp was 6.60 ± 0.77 %/mg. Further mechanistic assays revealed that amino acid transport systems L-tpye amino acid transporter (LAT) and alanine-, serine-, and cysteine-preferring (ASC), and enzyme IDO expression were involved in cell uptake of 1-L-[18F]FETrp. Small animal PET/CT imaging study showed the tumor uptake of 1-L-[18F]FETrp was 4.6 ± 0.4 % ID/g, while, the tumor uptake of 1-D-[18F]FETrp was low to 1.0 ± 0.2 % ID/g, which were confirmed by ex vivo biodistribution study. Conclusions: We have developed a practical method for the automatic radiosynthesis of 1-L-[18F]FETrp and 1-D-[18F]FETrp. Our biological evaluation results suggest that 1-L-[18F]FETrp is a promising radiotracer for PET imaging of IDO-mediated kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism in cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cancer Research