Fluorescently labeled cetuximab to evaluate head and neck cancer response to treatment

Cancer Biol Ther. 2007 Aug;6(8):1181-5. doi: 10.4161/cbt.6.8.4379. Epub 2007 May 3.


Objective: Combining the therapeutic and diagnostic properties of targeted antibodies may improve clinical assessment of disease with limited added toxicity during treatment.

Methods: Mice (n = 10) were xenografted with SCC-1 tumor cells and then treated with radiation, cisplatin and cetuximab. Brightfield and fluorescent imaging was performed after systemically injecting fluorescently labeled cetuximab prior to treatment and at six or ten weeks after initiation of treatment. The relative fluorescence intensity was determined for each image.

Results: The tumor luminosity measured before (week 0), during (week 6) and after treatment (week 10) did not significantly change. Actual tumor measurement corresponded to fluorescent measurements of tumors both before treatment and after treatment. Complete response to therapy occurred in one animal, where resolution of the tumor correlated with loss of fluorescent activity.

Conclusions: This preclinical data suggests combining the diagnostic and therapeutic properties of cetuximab may be clinically useful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cetuximab
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Cetuximab