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Ideally, monoclonal antibodies provide selective treatment by targeting the tumour, without affecting normal tissues. Therefore, antibody imaging is of interest, preferably in early stages of drug development. However, the imaging signal consists of specific, as well as non-specific, uptake. The aim of this study was to assess specific, target-mediated uptake in normal tissues, with immuno-PET in a phase I dose escalation study, using the anti-CD44 antibody RG7356 as example.
Data from thirteen patients with CD44-expressing solid tumours included in an imaging sub-study of a phase I dose escalation clinical trial using the anti-CD44 antibody RG7356 was analysed. 89Zirconium-labelled RG7356 (1 mg; 37 MBq) was administered after a variable dose of unlabelled RG7356 (0 to 675 mg). Tracer uptake in normal tissues (liver, spleen, kidney, lung, bone marrow, brain and blood pool) was used to calculate the area under the time antibody concentration curve (AUC) and expressed as tissue-to-blood AUC ratios.
Within the dose range of 1 to 450 mg, tissue-to-blood AUC ratios decreased from 10.6 to 0.75 ± 0.16 for the spleen, 7.5 to 0.86 ± 0.18 for the liver, 3.6 to 0.48 ± 0.13 for the bone marrow, 0.69 to 0.26 ± 0.1 for the lung and 1.29 to 0.56 ± 0.14 for the kidney, indicating dose-dependent uptake. In all patients receiving ≥ 450 mg (n = 7), tumour uptake of the antibody was observed.
This study demonstrates how immuno-PET in a dose escalation study provides a non-invasive technique to quantify dose-dependent uptake in normal tissues, indicating specific, target-mediated uptake.