Preclinical immunoPET/CT imaging using Zr-89-labeled anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody for assessing radiation-induced PD-L1 upregulation in head and neck cancer and melanoma

Masahiro Kikuchi, David A Clump, Raghvendra M Srivastava, Lingyi Sun, Dexing Zeng, Julio A Diaz-Perez, Carolyn J Anderson, W Barry Edwards, Robert L Ferris
Oncoimmunology 2017, 6 (7): e1329071
Radiation therapy (RT) can induce upregulation of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) on tumor cells or myeloid cells, which may affect response to PD-1-based immunotherapy. PD-L1 upregulation during RT is a dynamic process that has been difficult to monitor during treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the RT-induced PD-L1 upregulation in the tumor and its microenvironment using immunoPET/CT imaging of two syngeneic murine tumor models (HPV+ head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) or B16F10 melanoma). Tumors were established in two locations per mouse (neck and flank), and fractionated RT (2 Gy × 4 or 2 Gy × 10) was delivered only to the neck tumor, alone or during anti-PD-1 mAb immunotherapy. PD-L1 expression was measured by PET/CT imaging using Zr-89 labeled anti-mouse PD-L1 mAb, and results were validated by flow cytometry. PET/CT imaging demonstrated significantly increased tracer uptake in irradiated neck tumors compared with non-irradiated flank tumors. Ex vivo analysis by biodistribution and flow cytometry validated PD-L1 upregulation specifically in irradiated tumors. In the HNSCC model, RT-induced PD-L1 upregulation was only observed after 2 Gy × 10 fractionated RT, while in the B16F10 model upregulation of PD-L1 occurred after 2 Gy × 4 fractionated RT. Fractionated RT, but not anti-PD-1 therapy, upregulated PD-L1 expression on tumor and infiltrating inflammatory cells in murine models, which could be non-invasively monitored by immunoPET/CT imaging using Zr-89 labeled anti-mouse PD-L1 mAb, and differentially identified anti-PD-1 responsive as well as selectively irradiated tumors in vivo .


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