[99mTc]Tc-PentixaTec: development, extensive pre-clinical evaluation, and first human experience

Matthias Konrad, Andreas Rinscheid, Georgine Wienand, Bernd Nittbaur, Hans Jürgen Wester, Tilman Janzen, Constantin Lapa, Christian Helmut Pfob, Margret Schottelius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The clinical success non-invasive imaging of CXCR4 expression using [68 Ga]Ga-PentixaFor-PET warrants an expansion of the targeting concept towards conventional scintigraphy/SPECT with their lower cost and general availability. To this aim, we developed and comparatively evaluated a series of 99mTc-labeled cyclic pentapeptides based on the PentixaFor scaffold. Methods: Six mas3-conjugated CPCR4 analogs with different 4-aminobenzoic acid (Abz)-D-Ala-D-Arg-aa3 linkers (L1–L6) as well as the corresponding HYNIC- and N4-analogs of L6-CPCR4 were synthesized via standard SPPS. Competitive binding studies (IC50 and IC50inv) were carried out using Jurkat T cell lymphoma cells and [125I]FC-131 as radioligand. Internalization kinetics were investigated using hCXCR4-overexpressing Chem-1 cells. Biodistribution studies and small animal SPECT/CT imaging (1 h p.i.) were carried out using Jurkat xenograft bearing CB17/SCID mice. Based on the preclinical results, [99mTc]Tc-N4-L6-CPCR4 ([99mTc]Tc-PentixaTec) was selected for an early translation to the human setting. Five patients with hematologic malignancies underwent [99mTc]Tc-N4-L6-CPCR4 SPECT/planar imaging with individual dosimetry. Results: Of the six mas3-conjugated peptides, mas3 -L6-CPCR4 (mas3-dap-r-a-Abz-CPCR4) showed the highest CXCR4 affinity (IC50 = 5.0 ± 1.3 nM). Conjugation with N4 (N4-L6-CPCR4) further improved hCXCR4 affinity to 0.6 ± 0.1 nM. [99mTc]Tc-N4-L6-CPCR4 also showed the most efficient internalization (97% of total cellular activity at 2 h) and the highest tumor accumulation (8.6 ± 1.3% iD/g, 1 h p.i.) of the compounds investigated. Therefore, [99mTc]Tc-N4-L6-CPCR4 (termed [99mTc]Tc-PentixaTec) was selected for first-in-human application. [99mTc]Tc-PentixaTec was well tolerated, exhibits a favorable biodistribution and dosimetry profile (2.1–3.4 mSv per 500 MBq) and excellent tumor/background ratios in SPECT and planar imaging. Conclusion: The successive optimization of the amino acid composition of the linker structure and the N-terminal 99mTc-labeling strategies (mas3 vs HYNIC vs N4) has provided [99mTc]Tc-PentixaTec as a novel, highly promising CXCR4-targeted SPECT agent for clinical application. With its excellent CXCR4 affinity, efficient internalization, high uptake in CXCR4-expressing tissues, suitable clearance/biodistribution characteristics, and favorable human dosimetry, it holds great potential for further clinical use. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3937-3948
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • CXCR4 imaging
  • Cancer
  • Pentapeptide tracer
  • Planar imaging
  • [Tc]Tc-PentixaTec


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