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Specific in vivo imaging of HER2-positive tumors within one hour using a site-specifically 11C-labeled Sel-tagged Affibody molecule
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Molecular Biotechnology.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A rapid, reliable method for distinguishing tumors or metastases that overexpress human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) from those that do not is highly desired for improvement of cancer care. In v ivo imaging methods are available, but are not yet in clinical practice; new methodologies improving speed, sensitivity and specificity are required. Here we describe promising results with a HER2‐binding Affibody molecule, ZHER2:342, recombinantly fused with a C‐terminal selenocysteine‐containing tetrapeptide Sel‐tag and site‐specifically labeled with either 11C or 68Ga for molecular imaging applications with positron emissiontomography (PET).

In mice, both the 11C‐ and 68Ga‐labeled tracers initially cleared rapidly from the blood, followed by a slower decrease to 4‐5 %ID/g at 1 h. Final uptake in kidneys was much lower (> 5‐fold) for the 11C‐labeled protein, leading to markedly reduced background radioactivity in the abdomen. Furthermore, 11C‐labeled Sel‐tagged ZHER2:342 showed excellent tumor targeting capability, with almost 10 %ID/g in HER2 expressing tumors within the first hour. High specificity was demonstrated by preblocking the binding sites with excess ligand, which yielded low radiotracer uptakes, comparable to those in tumors with low endogenous HER2 expression.

To our knowledge the Sel‐tagging technique is the first that enables site‐specific 11C radiolabelingof proteins. Here we present that, in a favorable combination between radionuclide half‐life and in vivo pharmacokinetics of the Affibody molecules, 11C‐labeled Sel taggedZHER2:342 can successfully be used for rapid and repeated PET studies of HER2 expression in tumors.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40859OAI: diva2:442506
QC 20110922Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2012-03-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Design and Evaluation of Radiolabeled Affibody Tracers for Imaging of HER2-expressing Tumors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design and Evaluation of Radiolabeled Affibody Tracers for Imaging of HER2-expressing Tumors
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The growing understanding of tumor biology and the identification of tumor specificgenetic and molecular alterations, such as the overexpression of human epidermal growthfactor receptor 2 (HER2), opens up for personalization of patient management using targeted therapies. However, this puts stringent demands on the diagnostic tools usedto identify patients that are likely to respond to a particular treatment. Radionuclide molecular imaging is a promising non-invasive method to visualize and characterize the expression of such targets. This thesis, based on five papers, is focused on the development of radiolabeled Affibody molecules for imaging of HER2-expression in malignant tumors. Affibody molecules, which represent a rather novel class of affinity proteins developed by combinatorial protein engineering of the protein A derived Z-domain, display manyfeatures that make them promising tracers for molecular imaging applications. The aim of the work presented here was to further develop the tracer format for improved in vivo properties and flexibility in the choice of radionuclide.

In paper I, the development of an assay that enables quantitative studies of the internalization rate and cellular processing of high affinity Affibody molecules is described. The assay was applied to a HER2-binding Affibody variant that was efficiently retained by HER2-expressing cells, although characterized by a slow internalization rate. This may have implications for the choice of label for Affibody molecules since high affinity to the target may be equally, or more, important for good imaging quality than residualizing properties of the radiolabel. In paper II, a HER2-binding Affibody molecule and the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab were labeled with positron emitting 124I, for a head-to-head in vivocomparison of the two tracer formats. The effects of tracer size and presence of an Fc region on the biodistribution profile were investigated. In paper III, a HER2-binding Affibody molecule was site-specifically labeled with radiocobalt and evaluated in vitro and in vivo.A head-to-head in vivo comparison with the well-studied 111In-labeled counterpart was performed, revealing promising potential for the cobalt-labeled molecule as a PET-tracerfor visualization of HER2. Paper IV describes the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of a panel of Affibody molecules with different C-terminal peptide-based chelators for the coordination of 99mTc. Even small changes in the C-terminal sequence had appreciable impact on the biodistribution of the Affibody molecules and by optimizing the design of the chelator, the kidney uptake of 99mTc could be significantly reduced. Finally, in paper V we describe the development of a HER2-targeting Affibody variant equipped with a Sel-tag for site-specific labeling with the short-lived positron emitter 11C. This novel Affibody tracer could be used to image HER2-expressing tumors in vivo within one hour after injection.

Taken together, Affibody molecules show great promise as targeting tracers for radionuclide molecular imaging of HER2. Careful design and optimization of the tracer protein is important and can be used to improve the biodistribution and targeting properties of Affibody molecules.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. xi, 79 p.
Trita-BIO-Report, ISSN 1654-2312 ; 2011:21
Affibody molecule, radionuclide molecular imaging, HER2, radiotracer, SPECT, PET, biodistribution, protein engineering, radiolabeling
National Category
Medical Biotechnology Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40890 (URN)978-91-7501-092-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-10-21, FD5, AlbaNova University center, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC 20110922Available from: 2011-09-22 Created: 2011-09-22 Last updated: 2011-09-22Bibliographically approved

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