Fluorescent immunolabeling of cancer cells by quantum dots and antibody scFv fragment

J Biomed Opt. Mar-Apr 2009;14(2):021004. doi: 10.1117/1.3122775.


Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) coupled with cancer-specific targeting ligands are new promising agents for fluorescent visualization of cancer cells. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2/neu (HER2/neu), overexpressed on the surface of many cancer cells, is an important target for cancer diagnostics. Antibody scFv fragments as a targeting agent for direct delivery of fluorophores offer significant advantages over full-size antibodies due to their small size, lower cross-reactivity, and immunogenicity. We have used quantum dots linked to anti-HER2/neu 4D5 scFv antibody to label HER2/neu-overexpressing live cells. Labeling of target cells was shown to have high brightness, photostability, and specificity. The results indicate that construction based on quantum dots and scFv antibody can be successfully used for cancer cell visualization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Contrast Media*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region* / immunology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Quantum Dots*


  • Contrast Media
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region