Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Visualization of Prostate Cancer in MRI

Avan Kader, Jan O. Kaufmann, Dilyana B. Mangarova, Jana Moeckel, Julia Brangsch, Lisa C. Adams, Jing Zhao, Carolin Reimann, Jessica Saatz, Heike Traub, Rebecca Buchholz, Uwe Karst, Bernd Hamm, Marcus R. Makowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most common cancers in men. For detection and diagnosis of PCa, non-invasive methods, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can reduce the risk potential of surgical intervention. To explore the molecular characteristics of the tumor, we investigated the applicability of ferumoxytol in PCa in a xenograft mouse model in two different tumor volumes, 500 mm3 and 1000 mm3. Macrophages play a key role in tumor progression, and they are able to internalize iron-oxide particles, such as ferumoxytol. When evaluating T2*-weighted sequences on MRI, a significant decrease of signal intensity between pre-and post-contrast images for each tumor volume (n = 14; p < 0.001) was measured. We, furthermore, observed a higher signal loss for a tumor volume of 500 mm3 than for 1000 mm3. These findings were confirmed by histological examinations and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The 500 mm3 tumors had 1.5% iron content (n = 14; σ = 1.1), while the 1000 mm3 tumors contained only 0.4% iron (n = 14; σ = 0.2). In vivo MRI data demonstrated a correlation with the ex vivo data (R2 = 0.75). The results of elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry correlated strongly with the MRI data (R2 = 0.83) (n = 4). Due to its long retention time in the blood, biodegradability, and low toxicity to patients, ferumoxytol has great potential as a contrast agent for visualization PCa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2909
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • iron oxide nanoparticle
  • molecular imaging
  • prostate cancer


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