HGF/SF increases tumor blood volume: A novel tool for the in vivo functional molecular imaging of Met

Galia Tsarfaty, Gideon Y. Stein, Sharon Moshitch-Moshkovitz, Dafna W. Kaufman, Brain Cao, James H. Resau, George F. Vande Woude, Ilan Tsarfaty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular functional and metabolic imaging allows visualization of disease-causing processes in living organisms. Here we present a new approach for the functional molecular imaging (FMI) of endogenous tyrosine kinase receptor activity using Met and its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), as a model. HGF/SF and Met play significant roles in the biology and pathogenesis of a wide variety of cancers and, therefore, may serve as potential targets for cancer prognosis and therapy. We have previously shown that Met activation by HGF/SF increases oxygen consumption in vitro and results in substantial alteration of blood oxygenation levels in vivo, as measured by blood oxygenation level-dependent magnetic resonance imaging. Using contrast medium (CM) ultrasound imaging, we demonstrate here that HGF/SF induces an increase in tumor blood volume. This increase is evident in small vessels, including vessels that were not detected before HGF/SF treatment. The specificity of the effect was validated by its inhibition using anti-HGF/SF antibodies. This change in tumor hemodynamics, induced by HGF/SF and measured by CM ultrasound, is further used as a tool for Met FMI in tumors. This novel noninvasive molecular imaging technique may be applied for the in vivo diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of Met-expressing tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Contrast medium ultrasound
  • Functional molecular imaging
  • Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor
  • Met
  • Receptor tyrosine kinase


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