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Preclinical evaluation of EpCAM-binding designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) as targeting moieties for bimodal near-infrared fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of cancer


Houvast, Ruben D; Badr, Nada; March, Taryn; de Muynck, Lysanne D A N; Sier, Vincent Q; Schomann, Timo; Bhairosingh, Shadhvi; Baart, Victor M; Peeters, Judith A H M; van Westen, Gerard J P; Plückthun, Andreas; Burggraaf, Jacobus; Kuppen, Peter J K; Vahrmeijer, Alexander L; Sier, Cornelis F M (2024). Preclinical evaluation of EpCAM-binding designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) as targeting moieties for bimodal near-infrared fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of cancer. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 51(8):2179-2192.

Abstract

PURPOSE

Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) can play a key role in improving radical resection rates by assisting surgeons to gain adequate visualization of malignant tissue intraoperatively. Designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) possess optimal pharmacokinetic and other properties for in vivo imaging. This study aims to evaluate the preclinical potential of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-binding DARPins as targeting moieties for near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging of cancer.

METHODS

EpCAM-binding DARPins Ac2, Ec4.1, and non-binding control DARPin Off7 were conjugated to IRDye 800CW and their binding efficacy was evaluated on EpCAM-positive HT-29 and EpCAM-negative COLO-320 human colon cancer cell lines. Thereafter, NIRF and PA imaging of all three conjugates were performed in HT-29_luc2 tumor-bearing mice. At 24 h post-injection, tumors and organs were resected and tracer biodistributions were analyzed.

RESULTS

Ac2-800CW and Ec4.1-800CW specifically bound to HT-29 cells, but not to COLO-320 cells. Next, 6 nmol and 24 h were established as the optimal in vivo dose and imaging time point for both DARPin tracers. At 24 h post-injection, mean tumor-to-background ratios of 2.60 ± 0.3 and 3.1 ± 0.3 were observed for Ac2-800CW and Ec4.1-800CW, respectively, allowing clear tumor delineation using the clinical Artemis NIRF imager. Biodistribution analyses in non-neoplastic tissue solely showed high fluorescence signal in the liver and kidney, which reflects the clearance of the DARPin tracers.

CONCLUSION

Our encouraging results show that EpCAM-binding DARPins are a promising class of targeting moieties for pan-carcinoma targeting, providing clear tumor delineation at 24 h post-injection. The work described provides the preclinical foundation for DARPin-based bimodal NIRF/PA imaging of cancer.

Abstract

PURPOSE

Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) can play a key role in improving radical resection rates by assisting surgeons to gain adequate visualization of malignant tissue intraoperatively. Designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) possess optimal pharmacokinetic and other properties for in vivo imaging. This study aims to evaluate the preclinical potential of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-binding DARPins as targeting moieties for near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging of cancer.

METHODS

EpCAM-binding DARPins Ac2, Ec4.1, and non-binding control DARPin Off7 were conjugated to IRDye 800CW and their binding efficacy was evaluated on EpCAM-positive HT-29 and EpCAM-negative COLO-320 human colon cancer cell lines. Thereafter, NIRF and PA imaging of all three conjugates were performed in HT-29_luc2 tumor-bearing mice. At 24 h post-injection, tumors and organs were resected and tracer biodistributions were analyzed.

RESULTS

Ac2-800CW and Ec4.1-800CW specifically bound to HT-29 cells, but not to COLO-320 cells. Next, 6 nmol and 24 h were established as the optimal in vivo dose and imaging time point for both DARPin tracers. At 24 h post-injection, mean tumor-to-background ratios of 2.60 ± 0.3 and 3.1 ± 0.3 were observed for Ac2-800CW and Ec4.1-800CW, respectively, allowing clear tumor delineation using the clinical Artemis NIRF imager. Biodistribution analyses in non-neoplastic tissue solely showed high fluorescence signal in the liver and kidney, which reflects the clearance of the DARPin tracers.

CONCLUSION

Our encouraging results show that EpCAM-binding DARPins are a promising class of targeting moieties for pan-carcinoma targeting, providing clear tumor delineation at 24 h post-injection. The work described provides the preclinical foundation for DARPin-based bimodal NIRF/PA imaging of cancer.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Biochemistry
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Biochemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging
Language:English
Date:1 July 2024
Deposited On:08 Dec 2023 13:46
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1619-7070
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00259-023-06407-w
PubMed ID:37642704
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)