Purpose: Our objective was to determine the lowest diagnostically effective dose for E-selectin-targeted poly n-butyl cyanoacrylate (PBCA)-shelled microbubbles and to apply it to monitor antiangiogenic therapy effects. Procedures: PBCA-shelled microbubbles (MBs) coupled to an E-selectin-specific peptide were applied in mice carrying MLS or A431 carcinoma xenografts scaling down the MB dosage to the lowest level where binding could be examined with a 18-MHz small animal ultrasound transducer. Differences in E-selectin expression in the two carcinoma xenografts were confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In addition, MLS tumor-bearing mice under antiangiogenic therapy were monitored using E-selectin-targeted MBs at the lowest applicable dose. Therapy effects on tumor vascularization were verified by immunohistological analyses. Results: The minimally required dosage was 7 × 107 MBs/kg body weight. This dosage was sufficient to enable E-selectin detection in high E-selectin-expressing MLS tumors, while low E-selectin-expressing A431 tumors required almost 2.5-fold higher doses. At the dose of 7 × 107 MBs/kg body weight, a decrease in E-selectin MB binding under antiangiogenic therapy could be assessed (being significant after 3 days of treatment; p < 0.0001), which was in line with the significant drop in E-selectin-positive area fractions that was found histologically (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Molecular ultrasound imaging with our E-selectin-targeted MB and therapy monitoring was possible down to a dose of 7 × 107 MBs/kg body weight (equates to 66 μg PBCA/kg and 4.6 mg PBCA/70 kg). Improvements in choice of targets, MB composition, and other MB detection methods may improve sensitivity and lead to reliable detection results of clinically transferrable MBs at even lower dosage levels.
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
- Molecular imaging