Optical imaging of ovarian cancer using a matrix metalloproteinase-3-sensitive near-infrared fluorescent probe

Kuo Hwa Wang, Yung Ming Wang, Li Hsuan Chiu, Tze Chien Chen, Yu Hui Tsai, Chun S. Zuo, Kuan Chou Chen, Chun Austin Changou, Wen Fu T. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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 prognostic significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192047
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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