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School of Medicine




Significance: A key role of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in cancer progression, treatment resistance, and as a target for therapeutic intervention is increasingly appreciated. Among important physiological components of the TME are tissue hypoxia, acidosis, high reducing capacity, elevated concentrations of intracellular glutathione (GSH), and interstitial inorganic phosphate (Pi). Noninvasive in vivo pO2, pH, GSH, Pi, and redox assessment provide unique insights into biological processes in the TME, and may serve as a tool for preclinical screening of anticancer drugs and optimizing TME-targeted therapeutic strategies. Recent Advances: A reasonable radiofrequency penetration depth in living tissues and progress in development of functional paramagnetic probes make low-field electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)-based spectroscopy and imaging the most appropriate approaches for noninvasive assessment of the TME parameters. Critical Issues: Here we overview the current status of EPR approaches used in combination with functional paramagnetic probes that provide quantitative information on chemical TME and redox ( pO2, pH, redox status, Pi, and GSH). In particular, an application of a recently developed dual-function pH and redox nitroxide probe and multifunctional trityl probe provides unsurpassed opportunity for in vivo concurrent measurements of several TME parameters in preclinical studies. The measurements of several parameters using a single probe allow for their correlation analyses independent of probe distribution and time of measurements. Future Directions: The recent progress in clinical EPR instrumentation and development of biocompatible paramagnetic probes for in vivo multifunctional TME profiling eventually will make possible translation of these EPR techniques into clinical settings to improve prediction power of early diagnostics for the malignant transition and for future rational design of TME-targeted anticancer therapeutics. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 28, 1365–1377.

Source Citation

Khramtsov VV. In Vivo Molecular Electron Paramagnetic Resonance-Based Spectroscopy and Imaging of Tumor Microenvironment and Redox Using Functional Paramagnetic Probes. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2018;28(15):1365-1377. doi:10.1089/ars.2017.7329