Background: Endometriosis is still a highly underdiagnosed disease, and the current medical and surgical treatment of endometriosis is associated with a high recurrence rate. This study investigates the use of derivatives of the human antibody F8, specific to the alternatively
spliced extra-domain A of fibronectin (Fn), for the imaging and treatment of endometriosis.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence was used to evaluate antigen expression in endometriotic tissue of human endometriosis and of a syngeneic mouse model of the disease. The in vivo targeting performance of a fluorescent derivative of the F8 antibody was assessed by imaging mice with endometriosis using a near-infrared fluorescence imager, 24 h following i.v. injection of the antibody conjugate. Furthermore, the mouse model was used for therapy experiments using two recombinant F8-based immunocytokines [F8-interleukin- 10 (IL10) and F8-IL2] or saline for the treatment groups.
Results: A very strong vascular expression of splice isoforms of Fn and of tenascin-C was observed in human endometriotic lesions by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques. After i.v. administration, a selective accumulation of the F8 antibody in endometriotic
lesions could be observed in a syngeneic mouse model. These targeting data were used as a basis for therapy experiments with a pro-inflammatory (F8-IL2) and an anti-inflammatory (F8-IL10) cytokine fusion protein of the F8 antibody. The average lesion size in the F8-IL10 treatment group was clearly reduced compared with the saline control group and with the F8-IL2 group, for which no therapeutic effects
Conclusions: The F8 antibody targets endometriotic lesions in vivo in a mouse model of endometriosis and may be used for the noninvasive imaging of the disease and for the pharmacodelivery of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL10.