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11 2018 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Self-assembling supramolecular dendrimer nanosystem for PET imaging of tumors.


Garrigue P, Tang J, Ding L, Bouhlel A, Tintaru A, Laurini E, Huang Y, Lyu Z, Zhang M, Fernandez S, Balasse L, Lan W, Mas E, Marson D, Weng Y, Liu X, Giorgio S, Iovanna J, Pricl S, Guillet B, Peng L


Bioimaging plays an important role in cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, imaging sensitivity and specificity still constitute key challenges. Nanotechnology-based imaging is particularly promising for overcoming these limitations because nanosized imaging agents can specifically home in on tumors via the « enhanced permeation and retention » (EPR) effect, thus resulting in enhanced imaging sensitivity and specificity. Here, we report an original nanosystem for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging based on an amphiphilic dendrimer, which bears multiple PET reporting units at the terminals. This dendrimer is able to self-assemble into small and uniform nanomicelles, which accumulate in tumors for effective PET imaging. Benefiting from the combined dendrimeric multivalence and EPR-mediated passive tumor targeting, this nanosystem demonstrates superior imaging sensitivity and specificity, with up to 14-fold increased PET signal ratios compared with the clinical gold reference 2-fluorodeoxyglucose ([F]FDG). Most importantly, this dendrimer system can detect imaging-refractory low-glucose-uptake tumors that are otherwise undetectable using [F]FDG. In addition, it is endowed with an excellent safety profile and favorable pharmacokinetics for PET imaging. Consequently, this dendrimer nanosystem constitutes an effective and promising approach for cancer imaging. Our study also demonstrates that nanotechnology based on self-assembling dendrimers provides a fresh perspective for biomedical imaging and cancer diagnosis.

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