PURPOSE: The chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) chDAB4 (APOMAB®) targets the Lupus associated (La)/Sjögren Syndrome-B (SSB) antigen, which is over-expressed in tumors but only becomes available for antibody binding in dead tumor cells. Hence, chDAB4 may be used as a novel theranostic tool to distinguish between responders and nonresponders early after chemotherapy. Here, we aimed to ascertain which positron emitter, Zirconium-89 ([89Zr]ZrIV) or Iodine-124 ([124I]I), was best suited to label chDAB4 for post-chemotherapy PET imaging of tumor-bearing mice and to determine which of two different bifunctional chelators provided optimal tumor imaging by PET using [89Zr]ZrIV-labeled chDAB4.
METHODS: C57BL/6 J mice bearing subcutaneous syngeneic tumors of EL4 lymphoma were either untreated or given chemotherapy, then administered radiolabeled chDAB4 after 24 h with its biodistribution examined using PET and organ assay. We compared chDAB4 radiolabeled with [89Zr] ZrIV or [124I] I, or [89Zr]Zr-chDAB4 using either DFO-NCS or DFOSq as a chelator.
RESULTS: After chemotherapy, [89Zr]Zr-chDAB4 showed higher and prolonged mean (± SD) tumor uptake of 29.5 ± 5.9 compared to 7.8 ± 1.2 for [124I] I -chDAB4. In contrast, antibody uptake in healthy tissues was not affected. Compared to DFO-NCS, DFOSq did not result in significant differences in tumor uptake of [89Zr]Zr-chDAB4 but did alter the tumor:liver ratio in treated mice 3 days after injection in favour of DFOSq (8.0 ± 1.1) compared to DFO-NCS (4.2 ± 0.7).
CONCLUSION: ImmunoPET using chDAB4 radiolabeled with residualizing [89Zr] ZrIV rather than [124I] I optimized post-chemotherapy tumor uptake. Further, PET imaging characteristics were improved by DFOSq rather than DFO-NCS. Therefore, the radionuclide/chelator combination of [89Zr] ZrIV and DFOSq is preferred for the imminent clinical evaluation of chDAB4 as a selective tumor cell death radioligand.