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Rational Linker Design to Accelerate Excretion and Reduce Background Uptake of Peptidomimetic PSMA-Targeting Hybrid Molecules.

Eder, A.; Schäfer, M.; Schmidt, J.; Bauder-Wüst, U.; Roscher, M.; Leotta, K.; Haberkorn, U.; Kopka, K.; Eder, M.

The evolution of peptidomimetic hybrid molecules for preoperative imaging and guided surgery targeting the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) significantly progressed over the past few years, and some approaches are currently being evaluated for further clinical translation. However, accumulation in nonmalignant tissue such as kidney, bladder, spleen, or liver might limit tumor-to-background contrast for precise lesion delineation, particularly in a surgical setting. To overcome these limitations, a rational linker design aims at the development of a second generation of PSMA-11-based hybrid molecules with an enhanced pharmacokinetic profile and improved imaging contrast. Methods: A selection of rationally designed linkers was introduced to the PSMA-targeting hybrid molecule Glu-urea-Lys-HBED-CC-IRDye800CW, resulting in a second-generation peptidomimetic hybrid molecule library. The biologic properties were investigated in cell-based assays. In a preclinical proof-of-concept study with the radionuclide 68Ga, the impact of the modifications was evaluated by determination of specific tumor uptake, pharmacokinetics, and fluorescence imaging in tumor-bearing mice. Results: The modified hybrid molecules carrying various selected linkers revealed high PSMA-specific binding affinity and effective internalization. The highest tumor-to-background contrast of all modifications investigated was identified for the introduction of a histidine- (H) and glutamic acid (E)-containing linker ((HE)3-linker) between the PSMA-binding motif and the chelator. In comparison to the parental core structure, uptake in nonmalignant tissue was significantly reduced to a minimum, as exemplified by an 11-fold reduced spleen uptake from 38.12 ± 14.62 percentage injected dose (%ID)/g to 3.47 ± 1.39 %ID/g (1 h after injection). The specific tumor uptake of this compound (7.59 ± 0.95 %ID/g, 1 h after injection) was detected to be significantly higher than that of the parental tracer PSMA-11. These findings confirmed by PET and fluorescence imaging are accompanied by an enhanced pharmacokinetic profile with accelerated background clearance at early time points after injection. Conclusion: The novel generation of PSMA-targeting hybrid molecules reveals fast elimination, reduced background organ enrichment, and high PSMA-specific tumor uptake meeting the key demands for potent tracers in nuclear medicine and fluorescence-guided surgery. The approach's efficacy in improving the pharmacokinetic profile highlights the strengths of rational linker design as a powerful tool in strategic hybrid-molecule development.

Keywords: PSMA; guided surgery; hybrid molecules; pharmacokinetic profile; prostate cancer

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-33442
Publ.-Id: 33442