A comparison of image contrast with (64)Cu-labeled long circulating liposomes and (18)F-FDG in a murine model of mammary carcinoma.
Conjugation of the (64)Cu PET radioisotope (t(1/2) = 12.7 hours) to long circulating liposomes enables long term liposome tracking. To evaluate the potential clinical utility of this radiotracer in diagnosis and therapeutic guidance, we compare image contrast, tumor volume, and biodistribution of (64)Cu-liposomes to metrics obtained with the dominant clinical tracer, (18)F-FDG. Twenty four female FVB mice with MET1 mammary carcinoma tumor grafts were examined. First, serial PET images were obtained with the (18)F-FDG radiotracer at 0.5 hours after injection and with the (64)Cu-liposome radiotracer at 6, 18, 24, and 48 hours after injection (n = 8). Next, paired imaging and histology were obtained at four time points: 0.5 hours after (18)F-FDG injection and 6, 24, and 48 hours after (64)Cu-liposome injection (n = 16). Tissue biodistribution was assessed with gamma counting following necropsy and tumors were paraffin embedded, sectioned, and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. The contrast ratio of images obtained using (18)F-FDG was 0.88 ± 0.01 (0.5 hours after injection), whereas with the (64)Cu-liposome radiotracer the contrast ratio was 0.78 ± 0.01, 0.89 ± 0.01, 0.88 ± 0.01, and 0.94 ± 0.01 at 6, 18, 24, and 48 hours, respectively. Estimates of tumor diameter were comparable between (64)Cu-liposomes and (18)F-FDG, (64)Cu-liposomes and necropsy, and (64)Cu-liposomes and ultrasound with Pearsons r-squared values of 0.79, 0.79, and 0.80, respectively. Heterogeneity of tumor tracer uptake was observed with both tracers, correlating with regions of necrosis on histology. The average tumor volume of 0.41 ± 0.05 cc measured with (64)Cu-liposomes was larger than that estimated with (18)F-FDG (0.28 ± 0.04 cc), with this difference apparently resulting primarily from accumulation of the radiolabeled particles in the pro-angiogenic tumor rim. The imaging of radiolabeled nanoparticles can facilitate tumor detection, identification of tumor margins, therapeutic evaluation and interventional guidance.