BLZ945 derivatives for PET imaging of colony stimulating factor-1 receptors in the brain

Berend van der Wildt, Zheng Miao, Samantha T. Reyes, Jun H. Park, Jessica L. Klockow, Ning Zhao, Alex Romero, Scarlett G. Guo, Bin Shen, Albert D. Windhorst, Frederick T. Chin

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The kinase colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R) has recently been identified as a novel therapeutic target for decreasing tumor associated macrophages and microglia load in cancer treatment. In glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a high-grade cancer in the brain with extremely poor prognosis, macrophages and microglia can make up to 50% of the total tumor mass. Currently, no non-invasive methods are available for measuring CSF-1R expression in vivo. The aim of this work is to develop a PET tracer for imaging of CSF-1R receptor expression in the brain for future GBM patient selection and treatment monitoring. Methods: BLZ945 and a derivative that potentially allows for fluorine-18 labeling were synthesized and evaluated in vitro to determine their affinity towards CSF-1R. BLZ945 was radiolabeled with carbon-11 by N-methylation of des-methyl-BLZ945 using [11C]CH3I. Following administration to healthy mice, metabolic stability of [11C]BLZ945 in blood and brain and activity distribution were determined ex vivo. PET scanning was performed at baseline, efflux transporter blocking, and CSF-1R blocking conditions. Finally, [11C]BLZ945 binding was evaluated in vitro by autoradiography on mouse brain sections. Results: BLZ945 was the most potent compound in our series with an IC50 value of 6.9 ± 1.4 nM. BLZ945 was radiolabeled with carbon-11 in 20.7 ± 1.1% decay corrected radiochemical yield in a 60 min synthesis procedure with a radiochemical purity of >95% and a molar activity of 153 ± 34 GBq·μmol−1. Ex vivo biodistribution showed moderate brain uptake and slow wash-out, in addition to slow blood clearance. The stability of BLZ945 in blood plasma and brain was >99% at 60 min post injection. PET scanning demonstrated BLZ945 to be a substrate for efflux transporters. High brain uptake was observed, which was shown to be mostly non-specific. In accordance, in vitro autoradiography on brain sections revealed high non-specific binding. Conclusions: [11C]BLZ945, a CSF-1R PET tracer, was synthesized in high yield and purity. The tracer has high potency for the target, however, future studies are warranted to address non-specific binding and tracer efflux before BLZ945 or derivatives could be translated into humans for brain imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear medicine and biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • BLZ945
  • Colony stimulating Factor-1 receptor
  • Companion diagnostic
  • Glioblastoma
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Tumor associated macrophages

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