Preclinical Targeted α- and β--Radionuclide Therapy in HER2-Positive Brain Metastasis Using Camelid Single-Domain Antibodies

Janik Puttemans, Yana Dekempeneer, Jos L Eersels, Heleen Hanssens, Pieterjan Debie, Marleen Keyaerts, Albert D Windhorst, Frank van der Aa, Quentin Lecocq, Karine Breckpot, Alfred Morgenstern, Frank Bruchertseifer, Tony Lahoutte, Nick Devoogdt, Matthias D'Huyvetter

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37 Citations (Scopus)


HER2-targeted therapies have drastically improved the outcome for breast cancer patients. However, when metastasis to the brain is involved, current strategies fail to hold up to the same promise. Camelid single-domain antibody-fragments (sdAbs) have been demonstrated to possess favorable properties for detecting and treating cancerous lesions in vivo using different radiolabeling methods. Here we evaluate the anti-HER2 sdAb 2Rs15d, coupled to diagnostic γ- and therapeutic α- and β--emitting radionuclides for the detection and treatment of HER2pos brain lesions in a preclinical setting. 2Rs15d was radiolabeled with 111In, 225Ac and 131I using DTPA- and DOTA-based bifunctional chelators and Sn-precursor of SGMIB respectively and evaluated in orthotopic tumor-bearing athymic nude mice. Therapeutic efficacy as well as systemic toxicity were determined for 131I- and 225Ac-labeled sdAbs and compared to anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody (mAb) trastuzumab in two different HER2pos tumor models. Radiolabeled 2Rs15d showed high and specific tumor uptake in both HER2pos SK-OV-3-Luc-IP1 and HER2pos MDA-MB-231Br brain lesions, whereas radiolabeled trastuzumab was unable to accumulate in intracranial SK-OV-3-Luc-IP1 tumors. Administration of [131I]-2Rs15d and [225Ac]-2Rs15d alone and in combination with trastuzumab showed a significant increase in median survival in 2 tumor models that remained largely unresponsive to trastuzumab treatment alone. Histopathological analysis revealed no significant early toxicity. Radiolabeled sdAbs prove to be promising vehicles for molecular imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy of metastatic lesions in the brain. These data demonstrate the potential of radiolabeled sdAbs as a valuable add-on treatment option for patients with difficult-to-treat HER2pos metastatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1017
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020


  • Brain metastasis
  • HER2
  • Single-domain antibody fragment
  • Targeted radionuclide therapy

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