Performance of immuno - positron emission tomography with zirconium-89-labeled chimeric monoclonal antibody U36 in the detection of lymph node metastases in head and neck cancer patients

P. K E Börjesson, Y. W S Jauw, Ronald Boellaard, Remco De Bree, E. F I Comans, Jan C. Roos, Jonas A. Castelijns, M. J W D Vosjan, J. Alain Kummer, C. R. Leemans, Adriaan A. Lammertsma, G. A M S Van Dongen

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Purpose: Immuno - positron emission tomography (PET), the combination of PET with monoclonal antibodies (mAb), is an attractive option to improve tumor detection and to guide mAb-based therapy. The long-lived positron emitter zirconium-89 (89Zr) has ideal physical characteristics for immuno-PET with intact mAbs but has never been used in a clinical setting. In the present feasibility study, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic imaging performance of immuno-PET with 89Zr-labeled-chimeric mAb (cmAb) U36 in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC), who were at high risk of having neck lymph node metastases. Experimental Design: Twenty HNSCC patients, scheduled to undergo neck dissection with or without resection of the primary tumor, received 75 MBq 89Zr coupled to the anti-CD44v6 cmAb U36 (10 mg). All patients were examined by computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and immuno-PET before surgery. Six patients also underwent PET with 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose. Immuno-PET scans were acquired up to 144 hours after injection. Diagnostic findings were recorded per neck side (left or right) as well as per lymph node level (six levels per side), and compared with histopathologic outcome. For this purpose, the CT/MRI scores were combined and the best of both scores was used for analysis. Results: Immuno-PET detected all primary tumors (n = 17) as well as lymph node metastases in 18 of 25 positive levels (sensitivity 72%) and in 11 of 15 positive sides (sensitivity 73%). Interpretation of immuno-PET was correct in 112 of 121 operated levels (accuracy 93%) and in 19 of 25 operated sides (accuracy 76%). For CT/MRI, sensitivities of 60% and 73% and accuracies of 90% and 80% were found per level and side, respectively. In the six patients with seven tumor-involved neck levels and sides, immuno-PET and 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose PET gave comparable diagnostic results. Conclusion: In this study, immuno-PET with 89Zr-cmAb U36 performed at least as good as CT/MRI for detection of HNSCC lymph node metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2140
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number7 I
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006

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