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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 759057, 11 pages
Research Article

Molecular Imaging of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Xenografts with Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Targeted Affibody Probes

1Department of Digestive, China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130033, China
2Department of Radiology and Bio-X Program, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection, 1201 Welch Road, Lucas Center, P095, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
3Department of Surgery, Asian Liver Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Received 12 March 2013; Accepted 22 March 2013

Academic Editor: Hong Zhang

Copyright © 2013 Ping Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive and lethal cancer. It is typically asymptomatic at the early stage, with only 10%–20% of HCC patients being diagnosed early enough for appropriate surgical treatment. The delayed diagnosis of HCC is associated with limited treatment options and much lower survival rates. Therefore, the early and accurate detection of HCC is crucial to improve its currently dismal prognosis. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been reported to be involved in HCC tumorigenesis and to represent an attractive target for HCC imaging and therapy. In this study, an affibody molecule, Ac-Cys-ZEGFR:1907, targeting the extracellular domain of EGFR, was used for the first time to assess its potential to detect HCC xenografts. By evaluating radio- or fluorescent-labeled Ac-Cys-ZEGFR:1907 as a probe for positron emission tomography (PET) or optical imaging of HCC, subcutaneous EGFR-positive HCC xenografts were found to be successfully imaged by the PET probe. Thus, affibody-based PET imaging of EGFR provides a promising approach for detecting HCC in vivo.