Enzymatic radiosynthesis of a 18F-Glu-Ureido-Lys ligand for the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)

Phillip T. Lowe, Sergio Dall'Angelo, Ian N. Fleming, Monica Piras, Matteo Zanda, David O'Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Prostate cancer represents a major public health threat as it is one of the most common male cancers worldwide. The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is highly over-expressed in prostatic cancer cells in a manner that correlates with both tumour stage and clinical outcome. As such, PSMA has been identified as an attractive target for both imaging and treatment of prostate cancer. In recent years the focus on urea-based peptidomimetic inhibitors of the PSMA (representing low molecular weight/high affinity binders) has intensified as they have found use in the clinical imaging of prostate tumours. Reported herein are the design, synthesis and evaluation of a new fluorinated PSMA targeting small-molecule, FDA-PEG-GUL, which possesses the Glu-NH-CO-NH-Lys pharmacophore conjugated to a 5′-fluorodeoxy-adenosine unit. Inhibition assays were performed with FDA-PEG-GUL which revealed that it inhibits the PSMA in the nanomolar range. Additionally, it has been purposely designed so that it can be produced using the fluorinase enzyme from its chlorinated precursor, allowing for the enzymatic synthesis of radiolabelled [18F]FDA-PEG-GUL via a nucleophilic reaction that takes place in experimentally advantageous conditions (in water at neutral pH and at ambient temperature). Specific binding of [18F]FDA-PEG-GUL to PSMA expressing cancer cells was demonstrated, validating it as a promising PSMA diagnostic tool. This work establishes a successful substrate scope expansion for the fluorinase and demonstrates its first application towards targeting the PSMA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1480-1486
Number of pages7
JournalOrganic & Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number6
Early online date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019


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