Peptide-based PET imaging of the tumor restricted IL13RA2 biomarker.
Oncotarget, September 8, 2017
Peptides that target cancer cell surface receptors are promising platforms to deliver diagnostic and therapeutic payloads specifically to cancer but not normal tissue. IL13RA2 is a tumor-restricted receptor found to be present in several aggressive malignancies, including in the vast majority of high-grade gliomas and malignant melanoma. This receptor has been successfully targeted for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes using modified IL-13 ligand and more recently using a specific peptide, Pep-1L. In the current work, we establish the in vitro and in vivo tumor binding properties of radiolabeled Pep-1L, designed for tumor imaging. We radiolabeled Pep-1L with Copper-64 and demonstrated specific cell uptake in the IL13RA2-over expressing G48 glioblastoma cell line having abundant IL13RA2 expression. [(64)Cu]Pep-1L binding was blocked by unlabeled ligand, demonstrating specificity. To demonstrate in vivo tumor uptake, we intravenously injected into tumor-bearing mice and demonstrated that [(64)Cu]Pep-1L specifically bound tumors at 24 hours, which was significantly blocked (3-fold) by pre-injecting unlabeled peptide. To further demonstrate specificity of Pep-1L towards IL13RA2 in vivo, we exploited an IL13RA2-inducible melanoma tumor model that does not express receptor at baseline but expresses abundant receptor after treatment with doxycycline. We injected [(64)Cu]Pep-1L into mice bearing IL13RA2-inducible melanoma tumors and performed in vivo PET/CT and post-necropsy biodistribution studies and found that tumors that were induced to express IL13RA2 receptor by doxycycline pretreatment bound radiolabeled Pep-1L 3-4 fold greater than uninduced tumors, demonstrating receptor specificity. This work demonstrates that [(64)Cu]Pep-1L selectively binds hIL13RA2-expressing tumors and validates Pep-1L as an effective platform to deliver diagnostics and therapeutics to IL13RA2-expressing cancers.
Pubmed Link: 28881623