J Cancer 2017; 8(7):1170-1178. doi:10.7150/jca.18070

Research Paper

PET of HER2 Expression with a Novel 18FAl Labeled Affibody

Yuping Xu1, 2, Zhicheng Bai1, Qianhuan Huang1, Yunyun Pan1, Donghui Pan2, Lizhen Wang2, Junjie Yan2, Xinyu Wang1, Runlin Yang2, Min Yang1, 2✉

1. The First School of Clinical Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210029, China;
2. Key Laboratory of Nuclear Medicine, Ministry of Health, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Nuclear Medicine, Jiangsu Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Wuxi, Jiangsu, 214063, China.


Background: Human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) is abundant in a wide variety of tumors and associated with the poor prognosis. Radiolabeled affibodies are potential candidates for detecting HER2-positive lesions. However, laborious multiple-step synthetic procedure and high abdomen background may hinder the widespread use. Herein, cysteinylated ZHER2:342 modified with a new hydrophilic linker (denoted as MZHER2:342) was designed and labeled using 18FAl-NOTA strategies. The biologic efficacy of the novel tracer and its feasibilities for in vivo monitoring HER2 levels were also investigated in xenograft models with different HER2 expressions.

Method: MZHER2:342 was conjugated with MAL-NOTA under standard reaction conditions. The affibody molecule was then radiolabeled with 18FAl complex. The binding specificity of the tracer, 18FAl-NOTA-MAL-MZHER2:342, with HER2 was primarily characterized via in vitro studies. MicroPET imaging were performed in nude mice bearing tumors (SKOV-3, JIMT-1 and MCF-7) after injection. The HER2 levels of xenografts were determined using Western blotting analysis.

Results: 18FAl-NOTA-MAL-MZHER2:342 can be efficiently produced within 30 min with a non-decaycorrected yield of about 10% and a radiochemical purity of more than 95%. In vitro experiments revealed that the modified affibody retained the specific affinity to HER2. PET imaging showed that SKOV-3 and JIMT-1 xenografts were clearly visualized with excellent contrast and low abdomen backgrounds. On the contrary, the signals of MCF-7 tumor were difficult to visualize. The ROI values ranged from16.54±2.69% ID/g for SKOV-3 to 8.42±1.20 %ID/g for JIMT-1 tumors at 1h postinjection respectively. Poor uptake was observed from MCF-7 tumors with 1.71±0.34% ID/g at the same time point. Besides, a significant linear correlation between % ID/g values and relative HER2 expression levels was also found.

Conclusions: 18FAl-NOTA-MAL-MZHER2:342 is a promising tracer for in vivo detecting HER2 status with the advantages of facile synthesis and favorable pharmacokinetics. It may be useful in differential diagnosis, molecularly targeted therapy and prognosis of the cancers.

Keywords: PET, HER2

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How to cite this article:
Xu Y, Bai Z, Huang Q, Pan Y, Pan D, Wang L, Yan J, Wang X, Yang R, Yang M. PET of HER2 Expression with a Novel 18FAl Labeled Affibody. J Cancer 2017; 8(7):1170-1178. doi:10.7150/jca.18070. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p1170.htm