Novel receptor-targeted fluorescent contrast agents for in vivo tumor imaging

Samuel Achilefu, Richard B. Dorshow, Joseph E. Bugaj, Raghavan Rajagopalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

311 Scopus citations


RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. To evaluate the efficacy of a novel tumor receptor-specific small-peptide-near-infrared dye conjugate for tumor detection by optical imaging. METHODS. A novel, near-infrared dye-peptide conjugate was synthesized and evaluated for tumor-targeting efficacy in a well-characterized rat tumor model (CA20948) known to express receptors for the chosen peptide. A simple continuous-wave optical imaging system, consisting of a near-infrared laser diode, a cooled CCD camera, and an interference filter, was used in this study. RESULTS. Tumor retention of two non-tumor-specific dyes, indocyanine green and its derivatized analogue, bis-propanoic acid cyanine dye (cypate), was negligible. In contrast, the receptor-specific peptide-cypate conjugate (cytate) was retained in the CA20948 tumor, with an excellent tumor-to-normal-tissue ratio in the six rats examined. CONCLUSIONS. Optical detection of tumors with a receptor-targeted fluorescent contrast agent has been demonstrated. This result represents a new direction in cancer diagnosis and patient management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast agents
  • Dye-peptide conjugates
  • Optical imaging
  • Tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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