Quantitative PET imaging of PD-L1 expression in xenograft and syngeneic tumour models using a site-specifically labelled PD-L1 antibody

Camilla Christensen, Lotte K Kristensen, Maria Z Alfsen, Carsten H Nielsen, Andreas Kjaer

Abstract

PURPOSE: Despite remarkable clinical responses and prolonged survival across several cancers, not all patients benefit from PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade. Accordingly, assessment of tumour PD-L1 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) is increasingly applied to guide patient selection, therapeutic monitoring, and improve overall response rates. However, tissue-based methods are invasive and prone to sampling error. We therefore developed a PET radiotracer to specifically detect PD-L1 expression in a non-invasive manner, which could be of diagnostic and predictive value.

METHODS: Anti-PD-L1 (clone 6E11, Genentech) was site-specifically conjugated with DIBO-DFO and radiolabelled with 89Zr (89Zr-DFO-6E11). 89Zr-DFO-6E11 was optimized in vivo by longitudinal PET imaging and dose escalation with excess unlabelled 6E11 in HCC827 tumour-bearing mice. Specificity of 89Zr-DFO-6E11 was evaluated in NSCLC xenografts and syngeneic tumour models with different levels of PD-L1 expression. In vivo imaging data was supported by ex vivo biodistribution, flow cytometry, and IHC. To evaluate the predictive value of 89Zr-DFO-6E11 PET imaging, CT26 tumour-bearing mice were subjected to external radiation therapy (XRT) in combination with PD-L1 blockade.

RESULTS: 89Zr-DFO-6E11 was successfully labelled with a high radiochemical purity. The HCC827 tumours and lymphoid tissue were identified by 89Zr-DFO-6E11 PET imaging, and co-injection with 6E11 increased the relative tumour uptake and decreased the splenic uptake. 89Zr-DFO-6E11 detected the differences in PD-L1 expression among tumour models as evaluated by ex vivo methods. 89Zr-DFO-6E11 quantified the increase in PD-L1 expression in tumours and spleens of irradiated mice. XRT and anti-PD-L1 therapy effectively inhibited tumour growth in CT26 tumour-bearing mice (p < 0.01), and the maximum 89Zr-DFO-6E11 tumour-to-muscle ratio correlated with response to therapy (p = 0.0252).

CONCLUSION: PET imaging with 89Zr-DFO-6E11 is an attractive approach for specific, non-invasive, whole-body visualization of PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 expression can be modulated by radiotherapy regimens and 89Zr-DFO-6E11 PET is able to monitor these changes and predict the response to therapy in an immunocompetent tumour model.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Vol/bind47
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)1302-1313
Antal sider12
ISSN1619-7070
DOI
StatusUdgivet - maj 2020

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