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Demonstrating target engagement in vivo is an important milestone in drug development, both to establish on target, on tissue interactions but also to identify potentially undesirable off tissue binding. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a long-studied yet vexing drug target that has recently re-emerged as a potential druggable driver of many solid tumor types including breast and prostate cancer, and several antagonists are currently in early phase clinical trials. Since GR is also ubiquitously expressed in normal tissues, understanding antagonist/GR interactions in normal tissues and tumor is crucial to defining a therapeutic index. Herein, we demonstrate that the GR radioligand 18F-YJH08 can map drug/GR engagement in vivo. Profiling target engagement in vivo showed that the GR antagonists RU486 (mifepristone) and CORT125281 engaged GR in fewer normal tissues compared to ORIC-101 or the agonist dexamethasone. Furthermore, 18F-YJH08 detected GR in human prostate cancer tumor models and measured receptor binding by RU486. In summary, these data show for the first time that antagonist/GR interactions can be measured in vivo with 18F-YJH08, a finding with clinical relevance as GR antagonists and 11C-YJH08 are currently in clinical trials.


Hyunjung Kim, Yangjie Huang, Ning Zhao, Yung-Hua Wang, Sasank Sakhamuri, Shalini Chopra, Nima Hooshdaran, Renuka Sriram, Rahul Aggarwal, Michael J Evans. In Vivo Profiling with 18F-YJH08 Reveals Diverse Tissue Patterns of Antagonist/Glucocorticoid Receptor Interactions. Molecular pharmaceutics. 2022 Feb 07;19(2):704-709

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PMID: 35049307

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