Theranostics 2019; 9(24):7313-7324. doi:10.7150/thno.36755

Research Paper

An Activatable Near-Infrared Chromophore for Multispectral Optoacoustic Imaging of Tumor Hypoxia and for Tumor Inhibition

Jing Huang, Yinglong Wu, Fang Zeng, Shuizhu Wu

State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials & Devices, College of Materials Science & Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China.

Abstract

Hypoxia is a key hallmark of solid tumors and tumor hypoxia usually contributes to cancer progression, therapeutic resistance and poor outcome. Accurately detecting and imaging tumor hypoxia with high spatial resolution would be conducive to formulating optimized treatment plan and thus achieving better patient outcome.

Methods: Tumor hypoxia can cleave the azo linker and release a NIR fluorophore (NR-NH2) and release the active drug as well. NR-NH2 shows a strong absorption band at around 680 nm and a strong fluorescence band at 710 nm, allowing for both multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging (MSOT) and fluorescent imaging of tumor hypoxia in a tumor-bearing mouse model.

Results: Liposome encapsulated with the activatable chromophore (NR-azo) for detecting/imaging tumor hypoxia and for tumor inhibition was demonstrated. For this chromophore, a xanthene-based NIR fluorophore acts as the optoacoustic and fluorescent reporter, an azo linker serves as the hypoxia-responsive moiety and a nitrogen mustard as the therapeutic drug. NR-azo shows an absorption at around 575 nm but exhibits negligible fluorescence due to the existence of the strong electron-withdrawing azo linker.

Conclusion: We demonstrated an optoacoustic and fluorescent system for not only imaging tumor hypoxia in vivo but also achieving tumor inhibition.

Keywords: optoacoustic, imaging, hypoxia.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Huang J, Wu Y, Zeng F, Wu S. An Activatable Near-Infrared Chromophore for Multispectral Optoacoustic Imaging of Tumor Hypoxia and for Tumor Inhibition. Theranostics 2019; 9(24):7313-7324. doi:10.7150/thno.36755. Available from http://www.thno.org/v09p7313.htm