Concurrent Injection of Unlabeled Antibodies Allows Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Programmed Cell Death Ligand 1 Expression in an Orthotopic Pancreatic Tumor Model

Jun Zhao, Xiaoxia Wen, Tingting Li, Sixiang Shi, Chiyi Xiong, Yaoqi Alan Wang, Chun Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Among the treatment options for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are antibodies against the programmed cell death receptor 1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been successfully used to assess PD-1/PD-L1 signaling in subcutaneous tumor models, but orthotopic tumor models are increasingly being recognized as a better option to accurately recapitulate human disease. However, when PET radiotracers have high uptake in the liver and spleen, it can obscure signals from the adjacent pancreas, making visualization of the response in orthotopic pancreatic tumors technically challenging. In this study, we first investigated the impact of radioisotope chelators on the biodistribution of 64Cu-labeled anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies and compared the distribution profiles of anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies. We then tested the hypothesis that co-injection of unlabeled antibodies reduces uptake of 64Cu-labeled anti-PD-L1 antibodies in the spleen and thereby permits accurate delineation of orthotopic pancreatic tumors in mice. Procedures: We established subcutaneous and orthotopic mouse models of PDAC using KRAS∗ murine pancreatic cancer cells with a doxycycline-inducible mutation of KRASG12D. We then (1) compared the biodistribution of 64Cu-labeled anti-PD-1 with 2-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane tetraacetic acid (p-SCN-Bn-DOTA) and 2-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid (p-SCN-Bn-NOTA) used as the chelators in the orthotopic model; (2) compared the biodistribution of [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-PD-1 and [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-PD-L1 in the orthotopic model; and (3) imaged subcutaneous and orthotopic KRAS∗ tumors with [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-PD-L1 with and without co-injection of unlabeled anti-PD-L1 as the blocking agent. Results: [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-PD-L1 was a promising imaging probe. By co-injection of an excess of unlabeled anti-PD-L1, background signals of [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-PD-L1 from the spleen were significantly reduced, leading to a clear delineation of orthotopic pancreatic tumors. Conclusions: Co-injection with unlabeled anti-PD-L1 is a useful method for PET imaging of PD-L1 expression in orthotopic pancreatic cancer models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8474-8482
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number15
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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