Targeting cathepsin E in pancreatic cancer by a small molecule allows in vivo detection
Attitude to Health
Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
Patient Care Planning
Quality of Life
When resectable, invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is most commonly treated with surgery and radiochemotherapy. Given the intricate local anatomy and locoregional mode of dissemination, achieving clean surgical margins can be a significant challenge. On the basis of observations that cathepsin E (CTSE) is overexpressed in PDAC and that an United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved protease inhibitor has high affinity for CTSE, we have developed a CTSE optical imaging agent [ritonavir tetramethyl-BODIPY (RIT-TMB)] for potential intraoperative use. We show nanomolar affinity [half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 39.9 ± 1.2 nM] against CTSE of the RIT-TMB in biochemical assays and intracellular accumulation and target-to-background ratios that allow specific delineation of individual cancer cells. This approach should be useful for more refined surgical staging, planning, and resection with curative intent.