89Zr-Cobalamin PET Tracer: Synthesis, cellular uptake, and use for tumor imaging

Akhila N.W. Kuda-Wedagedara, Jayme L. Workinger, Ebba Nexo, Robert P. Doyle, Nerissa Viola-Villegas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Vitamin B12, or cobalamin (Cbl), is an essential nutrient. Acquisition, transport, and cellular internalization of Cbl are dependent on specific binding proteins and associated receptors. The circulating transport protein transcobalamin (TC) promotes cellular uptake via binding to specific receptors such as CD320, a receptor upregulated in several cancer cell lines. In this study, we report the successful synthesis of 89Zirconium-labeled Cbl that was derivatized with desferrioxamine (89Zr-Cbl). We document the purity of the tracer and its binding to TC compared with that of unmodified cyano-Cbl (CN-Cbl). In vitro studies employing the CD320 receptorpositive breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-453 showed a 6- to 10-fold greater uptake of 89Zr-Cbl when compared with the uptake in the presence of 200-fold excess of CN-Cbl at 37 °C. We used nude mice with MDA-MB-453 tumors to study the feasibility of employing the tracer to visualize CD320 positive tumors. In vivo positron emission tomography images displayed a clear visualization of the tumor with 1.42 - 0.48 %ID/g uptake (n = 3) at 4 h after injection (p.i.) with the tracer retained at 48 h p.i. Ex vivo biodistribution studies using 89Zr-Cbl exhibited the highest uptake in kidney and liver at 48 h p.i. Results document the feasibility of synthesizing a Cbl-based tracer suitable for both in vivo and ex vivo studies of Cbl trafficking and with the potential to visualize tumors expressing TC receptors, such as CD320.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6314-6320
Number of pages7
JournalACS Omega
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 31 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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