Development of meta-tetrahydroxyphenylchlorin-monoclonal antibody conjugates for photoimmunotherapy

Maarten B. Vrouenraets, Gerard W M Visser, Fiona A. Stewart, Marijke Stigter, Hugo Oppelaar, Pieter E. Postmus, Gordon B. Snow, Guus A M S Van Dongen

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A limitation of photodynamic therapy is the lack of tumor selectivity of the photosensitizer. To overcome this problem, a protocol was developed for coupling of meta-tetrahydroxyphenylchlorin (mTHPC), one of the most promising photosensitizers, to tumor-selective monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). mTHPC was radiolabeled with 131I to facilitate the assessment of the in vitro and in vivo behavior. After the modification to 131I-mTHPC(CH2COOH)4, thus increasing the water solubility and creating a functional moiety suitable for coupling, conjugation was performed using a labile ester. Insoluble aggregates were not formed when mTHPC-MAb conjugates with a molar ratio of up to 4 were prepared. These conjugates showed a minimal impairment of the integrity on SDS-PAGE, full stability in serum in vitro, and an optimal immunoreactivity. To test the in vivo behavior of the mTHPC-MAb conjugates, the head and neck squamous cell carcinoma-selective chimeric MAb U36 was used in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma-bearing nude mice. Biodistribution data showed that the tumor selectivity of cMAb U36-conjugated mTHPC was increased in comparison with free mTHPC, despite the fact that conjugates with a higher mTHPC:MAb ratio were more rapidly cleared from the blood. Preliminary results on the in vitro efficacy of photodynamic therapy with MAb-conjugated mTHPC showed that mTHPC coupled to the internalizing murine MAb 425 exhibited more phototoxicity than when coupled to the noninternalizing chimeric MAb U36.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1513
Number of pages9
JournalCancer research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1999

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