Immuno-PET of the hepatocyte growth factor receptor Met using the 1-armed antibody onartuzumab

Elaine M Jagoda, Lixin Lang, Veerendra Bhadrasetty, Stephanie Histed, Mark Williams, Gabriela Kramer-Marek, Esther Mena, Lauren Rosenblum, Jan Marik, Jeff N Tinianow, Mark Merchant, Lawrence Szajek, Chang Paik, Fabiola Cecchi, Kristen Raffensperger, Joe-Marie Jose-Dizon, Donald P Bottaro, Peter Choyke
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2012, 53 (10): 1592-600

UNLABELLED: The overexpression and overactivation of hepatocyte growth factor receptor (Met) in various cancers has been linked to increased proliferation, progression to metastatic disease, and drug resistance. Developing a PET agent to assess Met expression would aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of responses to Met-targeted therapies. In these studies, onartuzumab, the experimental therapeutic 1-armed monoclonal antibody, was radiolabeled with (76)Br or (89)Zr and evaluated as an imaging agent in Met-expressing cell lines and mouse xenografts.

METHODS: (89)Zr-desferrioxamine (df)-onartuzumab was synthesized using a df-conjugate; (76)Br-onartuzumab was labeled directly. Met-binding studies were performed using the human tumor-derived cell lines MKN-45, SNU-16, and U87-MG, which have relatively high, moderate, and low levels of Met, respectively. Biodistribution and small-animal PET studies were performed in MKN-45 and U87-MG xenografts.

RESULTS: (76)Br-onartuzumab and (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab exhibited specific, high-affinity Met binding (in the nanomolar range) that was concordant with established Met expression levels. In MKN-45 (gastric carcinoma) xenografts, both tracers cleared slowly from nontarget tissues, with the highest uptake in tumor, blood, kidneys, and lungs. (76)Br-onartuzumab MKN-45 tumor uptake remained relatively constant from 18 h (5 percentage injected dose per gram of tissue [%ID/g]) to 48 h (3 %ID/g) and exhibited tumor-to-muscle ratios ranging from 4:1 to 6:1. In contrast, (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab MKN-45 tumor uptake continued to accumulate from 18 h (10 %ID/g) to 120 h (23 %ID/g), attaining tumor-to-muscle ratios ranging from 20:1 to 27:1. MKN-45 tumors were easily visualized in imaging studies with both tracers at 18 h, but after 48 h (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab image quality improved, with at least 2-fold-greater tumor uptake than nontarget tissues. MKN-45 tumor uptake for both tracers correlated significantly with tumor mass and Met expression and was not affected by the presence of plasma shed Met.

CONCLUSION: (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab and (76)Br-onartuzumab specifically targeted Met in vitro and in vivo; (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab achieved higher tumor uptake and tumor-to-muscle ratios than (76)Br-onartuzumab at later times, suggesting that (89)Zr-df-onartuzumab would be better suited to image Met for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.


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