Ultrasound in medicine & biology

Molecular ultrasound imaging using contrast agents targeting endoglin, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 and integrin.

PMID 25308938


Expression levels of endoglin, αv integrin and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) were investigated using targeted, contrast-enhanced ultrasonography in murine melanoma tumor models. Microvasculature and expression levels of biomarkers were investigated using specific contrast agents conjugated with biotinylated monoclonal antibodies. Ultrasound signal intensity from bound contrast agents was evaluated in two groups of mice: control mice and mice treated with sorafenib. Expression levels were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Endoglin biomarkers were more highly expressed than αv integrin and VEGFR2. Endoglin decreased in the sorafenib group, whereas it tended to increase with time in the control group. Targeted ultrasound contrast agents may be used for non-invasive longitudinal evaluation of tumor angiogenesis during tumor growth or therapeutic treatment in preclinical studies. Endoglin protein, which plays an important role in angiogenesis, seems to be a target of interest for detection of cancer and for prediction of therapeutic efficacy.