Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging agents are promising tools for noninvasive cancer imaging. This study explored the specific uptake and retention of a NIR heptamethine carbocyanine MHI-148 dye by canine cancer cells and tissues and human prostate cancer (PCa) specimens and also the dye uptake mechanisms. The accumulation of MHI-148 was detected specifically in canine cancer cells and tissues and freshly harvested human PCa tissues xenografted in mice by NIR fluorescence microscopy and whole-body NIR optical imaging. Specific dye uptake in canine spontaneous tumors was further confirmed by PET imaging. Higher hypoxia-inducible factor-1a (HIF-1a) and organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) protein and mRNA expression was demonstrated by multiplex quantum dots labeling and qPCR in tumors over that of normal tissues. Treating cancer cells with HIF-1a stabilizers activated HIF-1a downstream target genes, induced OATP superfamily gene expression and enhanced cellular uptake and retention of NIR dyes. Moreover, silencing HIF-1a by siRNA significantly decreased OATP mRNA expression and blocked NIR dye uptake in cancer cells. Together, these results demonstrated the preferential uptake of NIR dyes by canine and human cancer cells and tissues via the HIF-1a/OATPs signaling axis, which provides insights into future application of these dyes for cancer detection and treatment.
View details for Web of Science ID 000348036500046
View details for PubMedID 25361418