Pretargeted PET Imaging with a TCO-Conjugated Anti-CD44v6 Chimeric mAb U36 and [89Zr]Zr-DFO-PEG5-Tz

Dave Lumen, Danielle Vugts, Marion Chomet, Surachet Imlimthan, Mirkka Sarparanta, Ricardo Vos, Maxime Schreurs, Mariska Verlaan, Pauline A. Lang, Eero Hippeläinen, Wissam Beaino, Albert D. Windhorst, Anu J. Airaksinen

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The recent advances in the production of engineered antibodies have facilitated the development and application of tailored, target-specific antibodies. Positron emission tomography (PET) of these antibody-based drug candidates can help to better understand their in vivo behavior. In this study, we report an in vivo proof-of-concept pretargeted immuno-PET study where we compare a pretargeting vs targeted approach using a new 89Zr-labeled tetrazine as a bio-orthogonal ligand in an inverse electron demand Diels-Alder (IEDDA) in vivo click reaction. A CD44v6-selective chimeric monoclonal U36 was selected as the targeting antibody because it has potential in immuno-PET imaging of head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Zirconium-89 (t1/2 = 78.41 h) was selected as the radionuclide of choice to be able to make a head-to-head comparison of the pretargeted and targeted approaches. [89Zr]Zr-DFO-PEG5-Tz ([89Zr]Zr-3) was synthesized and used in pretargeted PET imaging of HNSCC xenografts (VU-SCC-OE) at 24 and 48 h after administration of a trans-cyclooctene (TCO)-functionalized U36. The pretargeted approach resulted in lower absolute tumor uptake than the targeted approach (1.5 ± 0.2 vs 17.1 ± 3.0% ID/g at 72 h p.i. U36) but with comparable tumor-to-non-target tissue ratios and significantly lower absorbed doses. In conclusion, anti-CD44v6 monoclonal antibody U36 was successfully used for 89Zr-immuno-PET imaging of HNSCC xenograft tumors using both a targeted and pretargeted approach. The results not only support the utility of the pretargeted approach in immuno-PET imaging but also demonstrate the challenges in achieving optimal in vivo IEDDA reaction efficiencies in relation to antibody pharmacokinetics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)956-968
Number of pages13
JournalBioconjugate chemistry
Issue number5
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

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