In Vivo Near-Infrared Fluorescence Imaging of Human Colon Adenocarcinoma by Specific Immunotargeting of a Tumor-Associated Mucin

150 150 DaCosta Lab

DaCosta RS, Tang Y, Kalliomaki T, RM Reilly, Weersink RA, Elford AR, Marcon NE, Wilson BC; Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences 2009; 2:1-16



Background and Aims: Accurate endoscopic detection of premalignant lesions and early cancers in the colon is essential for cure, since prognosis is closely related to lesion size and stage. Although it has great clinical potential, autofluorescence endoscopy has limited tumor-to-normal tissue image contrast for detecting small preneoplastic lesions. We have developed a molecularly specific, near-infrared fluorescent monoclonal antibody (CC49) bioconjugate which targets tumor-associated glycoprotein 72 (TAG72), as a contrast agent to improve fluorescence-based endoscopy of colon cancer.

Methods: The fluorescent anti-TAG72 conjugate was evaluated in vitro and in vivo in athymic nude mice bearing human colon adenocarcinoma (LS174T) subcutaneous tumors. Autofluorescence, a fluorescent but irrelevant antibody and the free fluorescent dye served as controls. Fluorescent agents were injected intravenously, and in vivo whole body fluorescence imaging was performed at various time points to determine pharmacokinetics, followed by ex vivo tissue analysis by confocal fluorescence microscopy and histology.

Results: Fluorescence microscopy and histology confirmed specific LS174T cell membrane targeting of labeled CC49 in vitro and ex vivoIn vivo fluorescence imaging demonstrated significant tumor-to-normal tissue contrast enhancement with labeled-CC49 at three hours post injection, with maximum contrast after 48 h. Accumulation of tumor fluorescence demonstrated that modification of CC49 antibodies did not alter their specific tumor-localizing properties, and was antibody-dependent since controls did not produce detectable tumor fluorescence.

Conclusions:These results show proof-of-principle that our near-infrared fluorescent-antibody probe targeting a tumor-associated mucin detects colonic tumors at the molecular level in real time, and offer a basis for future improvement of image contrast during clinical fluorescence endoscopy.