In vitro characterization of a bivalent anti-HER-2 affibody with potential for radionuclide-based diagnostics

Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2005 Jun;20(3):239-48. doi: 10.1089/cbr.2005.20.239.


The 185 kDa transmembrane glycoprotein human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) (p185/neu, c-ErbB-2) is overexpressed in breast and ovarian cancers. Overexpression in breast cancer correlates with poor patient prognosis, and visualization of HER-2 expression might provide valuable diagnostic information influencing patient management. We have previously described the generation of a new type of affinity ligand, a 58-amino-acid affibody (Z(HER2:4)) with specific binding to HER-2. In order to benefit from avidity effects, we have created a bivalent form of the affibody ligand, (Z(HER2:4))2. The monovalent and bivalent ligands were compared in various assays. The new bivalent affibody has a molecular weight of 15.6 kDa and an apparent affinity (K(D)) against HER-2 of 3 nM. After radioiodination, using the linker molecule N-succinimidyl p-(trimethylstannyl) benzoate (SPMB), in vitro binding assays showed specific binding to HER-2 overexpressing cells. Internalization of 125I was shown after delivery with both the monovalent and the bivalent affibody. The cellular retention of 125I was longer after delivery with the bivalent affibody when compared to delivery with the monovalent affibody. With approximately the same affinity as the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin) but only one tenth of the size, this new bivalent molecule is a promising candidate for radionuclide-based detection of HER-2 expression in tumors. 125I was used in this study as a surrogate marker for the diagnostically relevant radioisotopes 123I for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/gamma-camera imaging and 124I for positron emission tomography (PET).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / immunology*
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / chemistry
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Ligands
  • Receptor, ErbB-2