International Journal of Cancer vol:131 issue:2 pages:E129-E137
It is estimated that 30-80% of solid tumor mass represents necrotic tissue that consists out of a significant number of dead and dying cells. The fact that these necrotic zones are restricted to dysplastic and malignant tissue and are rarely present in normal tissue makes necrosis an interesting target both for cancer diagnosis and therapy. In this study, the avidity of hypericin, [(123) I]iodohypericin and [(131) I]iodohypericin to tumor necrosis was explored for both diagnosis and therapy of experimental malignancies. The intratumoral distribution in RIF-1 tumors was investigated by means of fluorescence microscopy (hypericin) and autoradiography ([(123) I]iodohypericin). Results show high uptake of the tracers in necrosis at 24 hr, lasting for up to 72 hr p.i. Ratios of activity of [(123) I]iodohypericin in necrotic tissue over viable tumor reached up to 19.63 ± 4.66, correlating with 9.20% ID/g in necrosis. Nude mice bearing RIF-1 tumors that received three injections of 300 μCi over a 3-week treatment period showed stabilization in tumor growth for 5 days, as measured by caliper and micro-positron emission tomography using [(18) F]fluorodeoxyglucose. Based on these results, we suggest the potentials of radiolabeled hypericin (1) in diagnostic aspects including prognosis or staging assessment of bulky necrotic cancers, monitoring of treatments and therapeutic follow-up; and (2) in cancer treatment based on tumor necrosis. In conclusion, we showed that hypericin radiolabeled with iodine is a necrosis avid tracer that can be used both as a tumor diagnostic and therapeutic.