Synthesis and pre-clinical evaluation of a [18F]fluoromethyl-tanaproget derivative for imaging of progesterone receptor expression

Shairoz Merchant, Louis Allott, Laurence Carroll, Vickram Tittrea, Steven Kealey, Timothy H. Witney, Philip W. Miller, Graham Smith, Eric O. Aboagye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) are over-expressed in ∼50% of breast cancer lesions, and used as biomarkers to stratify patients for endocrine therapy. Currently, immunohistochemical (IHC) assessment of these lesions from a core-needle biopsy in deep-sited metastases has limitations associated with sampling error and lack of standardization. An alternative solution is positron emission tomography (PET)-based probes, which are inherently quantitative and capable of imaging the entire tumor, including metastases. This work features the synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel fluorinated derivative of tanaproget, a high affinity non-steroidal PR ligand, as a candidate for imaging PR expression in vivo. Radiolabeling of the candidate was achieved in a 15% ± 4 radiochemical yield (non-decay corrected) in one step from [18F]fluoromethyltosylate in 30 min. Cell uptake studies showed a significant difference between the radioligand uptake in PR+ and PR- cell lines; however, in vivo imaging was confounded by defluorination hypothesized to occur via iminium salt formation. Investigation into high affinity, metabolically stable non-steroidal PR ligands is currently ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57569-57579
Number of pages11
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number62
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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