Indexed on: 16 Jul '14Published on: 16 Jul '14Published in: Bioconjugate Chemistry
Determination of progesterone receptor (PR) status in hormone-dependent diseases is essential in ascertaining disease prognosis and monitoring treatment response. The development of a noninvasive means of monitoring these processes would have significant impact on early detection, cost, repeated measurements, and personalized treatment options. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely recognized as a technique that can produce longitudinal studies, and PR-targeted MR probes may address a clinical problem by providing contrast enhancement that reports on PR status without biopsy. Commercially available MR contrast agents are typically delivered via intravenous injection, whereas steroids are administered subcutaneously. Whether the route of delivery is important for tissue accumulation of steroid-modified MRI contrast agents to PR-rich tissues is not known. To address this question, modification of the chemistry linking progesterone with the gadolinium chelate led to MR probes with increased water solubility and lower cellular toxicity and enabled administration through the blood. This attribute came at a cost through lower affinity for PR and decreased ability to cross the cell membrane, and ultimately it did not improve delivery of the PR-targeted MR probe to PR-rich tissues or tumors in vivo. Overall, these studies are important, as they demonstrate that targeted contrast agents require optimization of delivery and receptor binding of the steroid and the gadolinium chelate for optimal translation in vivo.