Optical imaging of cellular immunotherapy against prostate cancer

Mol Imaging. Jan-Feb 2009;8(1):15-26.


The purpose of this study was to track fluorophore-labeled, tumor-targeted natural killer (NK) cells to human prostate cancer xenografts with optical imaging (OI). NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells targeted to the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) antigen on prostate cancer cells and nontargeted NK-92 parental cells were labeled with the near-infrared dye DiD (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindodicarbocyanine). The fluorescence, viability, and cytotoxicity of the labeled cells were evaluated. Subsequently, 12 athymic rats with prostate cancer xenografts underwent OI scans before and up to 24 hours postinjection of DiD-labeled parental NK-92 cells or NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells. The tumor fluorescence intensity was measured and compared between pre- and postinjection scans and between both groups using t-tests. OI data were confirmed with fluorescence microscopy. In vitro studies demonstrated a significant increase in the fluorescence of labeled cells compared with unlabeled controls, which persisted over a period of 24 hours without any significant change in the viability. In vivo studies demonstrated a significant increase in tumor fluorescence at 24 hours postinjection of tumor-targeted NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells but not parental NK cells. Ex vivo OI scans and fluorescence microscopy confirmed a specific accumulation of NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells but not parental NK cells in the tumors. Tumor-targeted NK-92-scFv(MOC31)-zeta cells could be tracked to prostate cancer xenografts with OI.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / metabolism
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive* / methods
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / transplantation
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Nude
  • Tomography, Optical / methods*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • CD3 Complex
  • CD3 antigen, zeta chain
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region