Radiosynthesis and preclinical evaluation of [11C]SNX-ab as an Hsp90α,β isoform-selective PET probe for in vivo brain and tumour imaging

Romy Cools, Koen Vermeulen, Valeria Narykina, Renan C.F. Leitao, Guy Bormans

    Research outputpeer-review


    Background: The molecular chaperone, Hsp90, is a key player in the protein quality control system that maintains homeostasis under cellular stress conditions. It is a homodimer with ATP-dependent activity, and is a prominent member of the chaperone machinery that stabilizes, matures and (re)folds an extensive list of client proteins. Hsp90 occurs as four isoforms, cytosolic Hsp90α and Hsp90β, mitochondrial TRAP1 and Grp94 present in the endoplasmic reticulum. An aberrant role of Hsp90 has been attributed to several cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Consequently, Hsp90 has emerged as an attractive therapeutic target. However, pan-Hsp90 inhibition often leads to detrimental dose-limiting toxicities. Novel strategies for Hsp90-targeted therapy intend to avoid this by using isoform-specific Hsp90 inhibition. In this respect, the radiosynthesis of carbon-11 labeled SNX-ab was developed and [11C]SNX-ab was evaluated as a Hsp90α,β isoform-selective PET probe, which could potentially allow to quantify in vivo Hsp90α,β expression. Results: [11C]SNX-ab was synthesized with excellent radiochemical yields of 45% and high radiochemical purity (> 98%). In vitro autoradiography studies on tissue slices of healthy mouse brain, mouse B16.F10 melanoma and U87 glioblastoma using homologous (SNX-ab, SNX-0723) and heterologous (Onalespib and PU-H71) Hsp90 inhibitors demonstrated only limited reduction of tracer binding, indicating that the binding of [11C]SNX-ab was not fully Hsp90-specific. Similarly, [11C]SNX-ab binding to U87 cells was not efficiently inhibited by Hsp90 inhibitors. Ex vivo biodistribution studies in healthy mice revealed limited brain exposure of [11C]SNX-ab and predominantly hepatobiliary clearance, which was confirmed by in vivo full-body dynamic µPET studies. Conclusion: Our results suggest that [11C]SNX-ab is not an ideal probe for in vivo visualization and quantification of Hsp90α/β expression levels in tumour and brain. Future research in the development of next-generation Hsp90 isoform-selective PET tracers is warranted to dissect the role played by each isoform towards disease pathology and support the development of subtype-specific Hsp90 therapeutics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2
    Number of pages19
    JournalEJNMMI Radiopharmacy and Chemistry
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 2023

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Analytical Chemistry
    • Pharmacology (medical)
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
    • Pharmacology

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