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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Novel Radiotracer for ImmunoPET Imaging of PD-1 Checkpoint Expression on Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes

Arutselvan Natarajan, Aaron T Mayer, Lingyun Xu, Robert E Reeves, Jacob Gano, Sanjiv S Gambhir
Bioconjugate Chemistry 2015 October 21, 26 (10): 2062-9
26307602
Immune checkpoint signaling through the programmed death 1 (PD-1) axis to its ligand (PD-L1) significantly dampens anti-tumor immune responses. Cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors that block this suppressive signaling have exhibited objective response rates of 20-40% for advanced solid tumors, lymphomas, and malignant melanomas. This represents a tremendous advance in cancer treatment. Unfortunately, all patients do not respond to immune checkpoint blockade. Recent findings suggest that patients with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) expressing PD-1 may be most likely to respond to αPD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors. There is a compelling need for diagnostic and prognostic imaging tools to assess the PD-1 status of TILs in vivo. Here we have developed a novel immunoPET tracer to image PD-1 expressing TILs in a transgenic mouse model bearing melanoma. A (64)Cu labeled anti-mouse antibody (IgG) PD-1 immuno positron emission tomography (PET) tracer was developed to detect PD-1 expressing murine TILs. Quality control of the tracer showed >95% purity by HPLC and >70% immunoreactivity in an in vitro cell binding assay. ImmunoPET scans were performed over 1-48 h on Foxp3+.LuciDTR4 mice bearing B16-F10 melanoma tumors. Mice receiving anti-PD-1 tracer (200 ± 10 μCi/10-12 μg/200 μL) revealed high tracer uptake in lymphoid organs and tumors. BLI images of FoxP3(+) CD4(+) Tregs known to express PD-1 confirmed lymphocyte infiltration of tumors at the time of PET imaging. Biodistribution measurements performed at 48 h revealed a high (11×) tumor to muscle uptake ratio of the PET tracer (p < 0.05). PD-1 tumors exhibited 7.4 ± 0.7%ID/g tracer uptake and showed a 2× fold signal decrease when binding was blocked by unlabeled antibody. To the best of our knowledge this data is the first report to image PD-1 expression in living subjects with PET. This radiotracer has the potential to assess the prognostic value of PD-1 in preclinical models of immunotherapy and may ultimately aid in predicting response to therapies targeting immune checkpoints.

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