Prostate cancer theranostics using GRPR antagonist RM26

  • Date:
  • Location: Rudbecksalen, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Mitran, Bogdan
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Institutionen för läkemedelskemi
  • Contact person: Mitran, Bogdan
  • Disputation

This thesis focuses on the preclinical de-velopment of radiotracers for imaging and treatment of prostate cancer.

The malignant transformation of cells is often associated with an alteration of their molecular phenotype, resulting in overexpression of several cell surface proteins. Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) are examples of such pro-teins that are expressed at a high density in prostate cancer. GRPR is primarily expressed in earlier stages of prostate cancer and tends to decrease with disease progression. This expression pattern indicates that GRPR could be a promising target for imaging and treatment of oligometa-static prostate cancer, an early step in prostate cancer progression characterized by limited meta-static spread. In contrast, the expression of PSMA increases with cancer progression and is significantly upregulated as tumors dedifferentiate into higher grade, in androgen-insensitive and metastatic lesions.

This thesis is based on five original articles (papers I-V) and focuses on the preclinical de-velopment of radiotracers for imaging and treatment of prostate cancer. The work can be divided into three distinct parts: (1) the development and optimization of GRPR-antagonist RM26 for high contrast PET and SPECT imaging of oligometastatic prostate cancer (papers I-III), (2) the preclinical evaluation of 177Lu-labeled RM26 as a potential candidate for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) in GRPR-expressing tumors, alone or in combination with anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab (paper IV), and (3) the development of a bispecific heterodimer targeting both PSMA and GRPR in prostate cancer (paper V).

We have demonstrated that the in vitro and in vivo properties of GRPR antagonist RM26 are strongly influenced by the choice of chelator-radionuclide complex and that long-lived radionuclides are desirable for high-contrast imaging. Furthermore, our data indicate that 55Co-NOTA-PEG2-RM26 has remarkable potential for next-day high-contrast PET imaging of GRPR-expressing tumors. Experimental PRRT using 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26 resulted in a pronounced inhibition of tumor growth and a significantly longer median survival. Interestingly, survival was further improved when trastuzumab was co-injected with 177Lu-DOTAGA-PEG2-RM26. These data indicate that blocking HER2 with trastuzumab decreased the repairing ability of irradiated cells. Finally, we developed a heterodimer (NOTA-DUPA-RM26) for imaging GRPR and PSMA expression in prostate cancer shortly after administration.

In conclusion, we have successfully developed and preclinically evaluated radioconjugates for GRPR-directed theranostics in oligometastatic prostate cancer using the bombesin antagonistic analog RM26.