Development of hypoxia enhanced 111In-labeled bombesin conjugates: Design, synthesis, and in vitro evaluation in pc-3 human prostate cancer

Nilesh K. Wagh, Zhengyuan Zhou, Sunny M. Ogbomo, Wen Shi, Susan K. Brusnahan, Jered C. Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (BB2r) has shown great promise for tumor targeting due to the increase of the receptor expression in a variety of human cancers including prostate, breast, small-cell lung, and pancreatic cancer. From clinical investigations, prostate cancer has been shown to be among the most hypoxic of the cancers investigated. Many solid tumors contain regions of hypoxia due to poor organization and efficiency of the vasculature. However, hypoxia is typically not present in normal tissue. Nitroimidazoles, a thoroughly investigated class of hypoxia selective drugs, have been shown to be highly retained in hypoxic tissues. The purpose of this study is to determine if the incorporation of hypoxia trapping moieties into the structural paradigm of BB2r-targeted peptides will increase the retention time of the agents in prostate cancer tumors. The present work involves the design, syntheses, purification, and in vitro investigation of hypoxia enhanced 111In-BB2r-targeted radioconjugates. A total of four BB2r-targeted conjugates (1-4) were synthesized and coupled with increasing numbers of 2-nitroimidazoles, a hypoxia trapping moiety. Conjugates were radiolabeled with 111In and purified by HPLC prior to in vitro studies. Receptor saturation assays under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions showed that the BB2r receptor expression on the PC-3 human prostate cancer cell line was not significantly affected by oxygen levels. Competitive binding assays revealed that incorporation of 2-nitroimidazoles had a detrimental effect to BB2r binding when adequate spacer groups, between the hypoxia trapping agent and the pharmacophore, were not employed. All of the 2-nitroimidazole containing BB2r-targeted agents exhibited significantly higher longitudinal retention in PC-3 cells under hypoxic conditions compared to the analogous normoxic studies. Protein association analysis revealed a 3-fold increase in binding of a 2-nitroimidazole containing BB2r-targeted agent under hypoxic relative to normoxic conditions. The positive nature of these results indicate that further exploration into the potential of hypoxia selective trapping agents for BB2r-targeted agents, as well as other targeted compounds, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-537
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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