Introduction: Hypoxia is a biochemical condition where reduced oxygen partial pressure at tissue level occurs. This metabolic situation can lead to resistance to radio and chemotherapy. In malignant solid tumours, hypoxia is a common characteristic, having a great impact at biological level, being of tremendous importance for complete understanding of tumour progression.
Objectives: We studied the behavior of 99mTc-HL91 in vivo, using an animal model based on Balb-c nu/nu mice with a xenotransplant of the human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line, WiDr.
Material and Methods: In vivo studies using an animal model of xenograft on Balb/c nu/nu nude mice were carried out. This model, allowed us to evaluate the radiopharmaceutical biodistribution and to calculate tumour/muscle ratio, acquired after 99mTc-HL91 injection. We also performed ex vivo studies, using the excised tumours to access viability and to characterize the intracellular production of reactive oxygen species and the status of mitochondrial membrane potential through flow cytometry.
Results and Discussion: The biodistribution after 99mTc-HL91 injection showed urinary and hepatobilliary excretion in similar proportions and tumour uptake around 4.4% of administered activity. This uptake was higher at the bigger tumours. Through flow cytometry we observed that larger tumours have a higher amount of reactive oxygen species and a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential.
Conclusions: 99mTc-HL91 allowed a non-invasive evaluation of the solid tumours oxidative state by nuclear medicine functional imaging. This information can be of high importance at the pre-treatment estimation of this type of tumours.