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[18F]-EF5, a marker for PET detection of hypoxia: synthesis of precursor and a new fluorination procedure.

Dolbier WR Jr. Li AR. Koch CJ. Shiue CY. Kachur AV.
Applied Radiation & Isotopes. 54(1):73-80, 2001 Jan.

There is a great deal of clinical and experimental interest in determining tissue hypoxia using non-invasive imaging methods. We have developed EF5, 2-(2-nitro-1[H]-imidazol-1-yl)-N-(2,2,3,3,3-pentafluoropropyl)-acetamide, with both invasive and non-invasive hypoxia detection in mind. EF5 and other 2-nitroimidazoles are used to detect hypoxia, because the rate of their bioreductive metabolism is inversely dependent on oxygen partial pressure. Such metabolism leads to the formation of covalent adducts within the metabolizing cells. Previously, we have described the invasive detection of these adducts by highly specific monoclonal antibodies after tissue biopsy. In this report, we demonstrate the synthesis of 18F-labeled EF5, [18F]-2-(2-nitro-1[H]-imidazol-1-yl)-N-(2,2,3,3,3-pentafluoropropyl)-acetamide, in greater than 10% yield by direct fluorination of the newly synthesized precursor 2-(2-nitro-1[H]-imidazol-1-yl)-N-(2,3,3-trifluoroallyl)-acetamide by [18F]-F2 in trifluoroacetic acid. Our objective was to optimize the electrophilic fluorination of the fluorinated alkene bond with fluorine gas, a new method of 18F-labeling of polyfluorinated molecules. Previous biodistribution studies in mice have demonstrated uniform access of EF5 to all tissues with bioelimination dominated by renal excretion. When [18F]-EF5 was injected into a rat followed by urine collection and analysis, we found no detectable metabolism to other radioactive compounds. Thus, [18F]-EF5 should be well suited for use as a non-invasive hypoxia marker with detection using positron emission tomography (PET).

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