Glucosamine-bound near-infrared fluorescent probes with lysosomal specificity for breast tumor imaging

Cong Li, Tiffany R. Greenwood, Kristine Glunde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Noninvasive imaging of lysosomes will be useful 1) to elucidate the role of lysosomal parameters in cancer, 2) to diagnose malignant lesions, and 3) to evaluate future lysosome-targeted anticancer therapies. Lysosome-specific labeling of glucosamine-bound near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent probes, IR-1 and IR-2, but not control probe IR-15 without the glucosamine moiety, was observed by fluorescence microscopy in human breast epithelial cell lines. Lysosome labeling and tumor specificity of these NIR probes were investigated by dynamic optical imaging and immunofluorescence staining in human breast tumor xenografts. IR-1 and IR-2 demonstrated faster lysosome labeling rates in highly aggressive MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435 cells compared with less aggressive MCF-7 and nontumorigenic MCF-12A cells. IR-1 and IR-2, but not IR-15, accumulated in human MDA-MB-231, MDAMB-435, and MCF-7 breast tumor xenografts in vivo. IR-2 demonstrated the highest maximum fluorescence and tumor/normal tissue ratios in all tumor models. Specific lysosome labeling from IR-2 in vivo was validated by colocalization of the NIR fluorescence with CD63 immunofluorescence in tumor sections. IR-1 and IR-2 demonstrated high lysosome-labeling ability and breast tumor-targeting specificity in vitro and in vivo. They are promising for diagnosing malignant lesions and may provide a means for evaluating and monitoring future lysosome-targeted anticancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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