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

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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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Volume47
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1302-1313
Number of pages12
ISSN1619-7070
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

ID: 62405224