BACKGROUND: Pretargeted immuno-PET tumor imaging has emerged as a valuable diagnostic strategy that combines the high specificity of antibody-antigen interaction with the high signal and image resolution offered by short-lived PET isotopes, while reducing the irradiation dose caused by traditional 89Zr-labelled antibodies. In this work, we demonstrate proof of concept of a novel 'two-step' immuno-PET pretargeting approach, based on bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) engineered to feature dual high-affinity binding activity for a fluorescein-based 18F-PET tracer and tumor markers.
RESULTS: A copper(I)-catalysed click reaction-based radiolabeling protocol was developed for the synthesis of fluorescein-derived molecule [18F]TPF. Binding of [18F]TPF on FITC-bearing bsAbs was confirmed. An in vitro autoradiography assay demonstrated that [18F]TPF could be used for selective imaging of EpCAM-expressing OVCAR3 cells, when pretargeted with EpCAMxFITC bsAb. The versatility of the pretargeting approach was showcased in vitro using a series of fluorescein-binding bsAbs directed at various established cancer-associated targets, including the pan-carcinoma cell surface marker EpCAM, EGFR, melanoma marker MCSP (aka CSPG4), and immune checkpoint PD-L1, offering a range of potential future applications for this pretargeting platform.
CONCLUSION: A versatile pretargeting platform for PET imaging, which combines bispecific antibodies and a fluorescein-based 18F-tracer, is presented. It is shown to selectively target EpCAM-expressing cells in vitro and its further evaluation with different bispecific antibodies demonstrates the versatility of the approach.