Evaluation of PSMA-Targeted PAMAM Dendrimer Nanoparticles in a Murine Model of Prostate Cancer

Wojciech G. Lesniak, Srikanth Boinapally, Sangeeta Ray Banerjee, Babak Behnam Azad, Catherine A. Foss, Chentian Shen, Ala Lisok, Bryan Wharram, Sridhar Nimmagadda, Martin G. Pomper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a validated target for detection and management of prostate cancer (PC). It has also been utilized for targeted drug delivery through antibody-drug conjugates and polymeric micelles. Polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers are emerging as a versatile platform in a number of biomedical applications due to their unique physicochemical properties, including small size, large number of reactive terminal groups, bulky interior void volume, and biocompatibility. Here, we report the synthesis of generation 4 PSMA-targeted PAMAM dendrimers [G4(MP-KEU)] and evaluation of their targeting properties in vitro and in vivo using an experimental model of PC. A facile, one-pot synthesis gave nearly neutral nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution of 5 nm in diameter and a molecular weight of 27.3 kDa. They exhibited in vitro target specificity with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 0.32 ± 0.23 μm and preferential accumulation in PSMA+ PC3 PIP tumors versus isogenic PSMA- PC3 flu tumors. Positron emission tomography-computed tomography imaging and ex vivo biodistribution studies of dendrimers radiolabeled with 64Cu, [64Cu]G4(MP-KEU), demonstrated high accumulation in PSMA+ PC3 PIP tumors at 24 h post-injection (45.83 ± 20.09% injected dose per gram of tissue, %ID/g), demonstrating a PSMA+ PC3 PIP/PSMA- PC3 flu ratio of 7.65 ± 3.35. Specific accumulation of G4(MP-KEU) and [64Cu]G4(MP-KEU) in PSMA+ PC3 PIP tumors was inhibited by the known small-molecule PSMA inhibitor, ZJ-43. On the contrary, G4(Ctrl), control dendrimers without PSMA-targeting moieties, showed comparable low accumulation of ∼1%ID/g in tumors irrespective of PSMA expression, further confirming PSMA+ tumor-specific uptake of G4(MP-KEU). These results suggest that G4(MP-KEU) may represent a suitable scaffold by which to target PSMA-expressing tissues with imaging and therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2590-2604
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2019


  • copper-64
  • molecular imaging
  • polyamidoamine
  • prostate cancer
  • prostate-specific membrane antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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