In Vivo Fluorescence Immunohistochemistry: Localization of Fluorescently Labeled Cetuximab in Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 29;5:10169. doi: 10.1038/srep10169.


Anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) antibody based treatment strategies have been successfully implemented in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Unfortunately, predicting an accurate and reliable therapeutic response remains a challenge on a per-patient basis. Although significant efforts have been invested in understanding EGFR-mediated changes in cell signaling related to treatment efficacy, the delivery and histological localization in (peri-)tumoral compartments of antibody-based therapeutics in human tumors is poorly understood nor ever made visible. In this first in-human study of a systemically administered near-infrared (NIR) fluorescently labeled therapeutic antibody, cetuximab-IRDye800CW (2.5 mg/m(2), 25 mg/m(2), and 62.5 mg/m(2)), we show that by optical molecular imaging (i.e. denominated as In vivo Fluorescence Immunohistochemistry) we were able to evaluate localization of fluorescently labeled cetuximab. Clearly, optical molecular imaging with fluorescently labeled antibodies correlating morphological (peri-)tumoral characteristics to levels of antibody delivery, may improve treatment paradigms based on understanding true tumoral antibody delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cetuximab / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Multivariate Analysis


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • IRDye800
  • Indoles
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Cetuximab