Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the seventh most common cancer among women worldwide. The 5-year survival rate for women with EOC is only 30%-50%, which is largely due to the typically late diagnosis of this condition. EOC is difficult to detect in its early stage because of its asymptomatic nature. Recently, near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) imaging has been developed as a potential tool for detecting EOC at the molecular level. In this study, a NIRF-sensitive probe was designed to detect matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity in ovarian cancer cells. A cyanine fluorochrome was conjugated to the amino terminus of a peptide substrate with enzymatic specificity for MMP-3. To analyze the novel MMP-3 probe, an in vivo EOC model was established by subcutaneously implanting SKOV3 cells, a serous-type EOC cell line, in mice. This novel MMP-3-sensitive probe specifically reacted with only the active MMP-3 enzyme, resulting in a significantly enhanced NIRF emission intensity. Histological analysis demonstrated that MMP-3 expression and activity were enhanced in the stromal cells surrounding the ovarian cancer cells. These studies establish a molecular imaging reporter for diagnosing early-stage EOC. Additional studies are required to confirm the early-stage activity of MMP-3 in EOC and its diagnostic and prognos-tic significance.
Wang, K. H., Wang, Y. M., Chiu, L. H., Chen, T. C., Tsai, Y. H., Zuo, C. S., … Lai, W. F. T. (2018). Optical imaging of ovarian cancer using a matrix metalloproteinase-3-sensitive near-infrared fluorescent probe. PLoS ONE, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192047