Prostate-specific membrane antigen-targeted photoacoustic imaging of prostate cancer in vivo

Haichong K. Zhang, Ying Chen, Jeeun Kang, Ala Lisok, Il Minn, Martin G. Pomper, Emad M. Boctor

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A sensitive, noninvasive method to detect localized prostate cancer, particularly for early detection and repetitive study in patients undergoing active surveillance, remains an unmet need. Here, we propose a molecular photoacoustic (PA) imaging approach by targeting the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is over-expressed in the vast majority of prostate cancers. We performed spectroscopic PA imaging in an experimental model of prostate cancer, namely, in immunocompromised mice bearing PSMA+ (PC3 PIP) and PSMA− (PC3 flu) tumors through administration of the known PSMA-targeted fluorescence agent, YC-27. Differences in contrast between PSMA+ and isogenic control tumors were observed upon PA imaging, with PSMA+ tumors showing higher contrast in average of 66.07-fold with 5 mice at the 24-hour postinjection time points. These results were corroborated using standard near-infrared fluorescence imaging with YC-27, and the squared correlation between PA and fluorescence intensities was 0.89. Spectroscopic PA imaging is a new molecular imaging modality with sufficient sensitivity for targeting PSMA in vivo, demonstrating the potential applications for other saturable targets relevant to cancer and other disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere201800021
JournalJournal of biophotonics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • molecular imaging
  • prostate-specific membrane antigen
  • spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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