Thy1-Targeted Microbubbles for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Apr 1;24(7):1574-1585. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-2057. Epub 2018 Jan 4.


Purpose: To engineer a dual human and murine Thy1-binding single-chain-antibody ligand (Thy1-scFv) for contrast microbubble-enhanced ultrasound molecular imaging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).Experimental Design: Thy1-scFv were engineered using yeast-surface-display techniques. Binding to soluble human and murine Thy1 and to Thy1-expressing cells was assessed by flow cytometry. Thy1-scFv was then attached to gas-filled microbubbles to create MBThy1-scFv Thy1 binding of MBThy1-scFv to Thy1-expressing cells was evaluated under flow shear stress conditions in flow-chamber experiments. MBscFv-scrambled and MBNon-targeted were used as negative controls. All microbubble types were tested in both orthotopic human PDAC xenografts and transgenic PDAC mice in vivoResults: Thy1-scFv had a KD of 3.4 ± 0.36 nmol/L for human and 9.2 ± 1.7 nmol/L for murine Thy1 and showed binding to both soluble and cellularly expressed Thy1. MBThy1-scFv was attached to Thy1 with high affinity compared with negative control microbubbles (P < 0.01) as assessed by flow cytometry. Similarly, flow-chamber studies showed significantly (P < 0.01) higher binding of MBThy1-scFv (3.0 ± 0.81 MB/cell) to Thy1-expressing cells than MBscFv-scrambled (0.57 ± 0.53) and MBNon-targeted (0.43 ± 0.53). In vivo ultrasound molecular imaging using MBThy1-scFv demonstrated significantly higher signal (P < 0.01) in both orthotopic (5.32 ± 1.59 a.u.) and transgenic PDAC (5.68 ± 2.5 a.u.) mice compared with chronic pancreatitis (0.84 ± 0.6 a.u.) and normal pancreas (0.67 ± 0.71 a.u.). Ex vivo immunofluorescence confirmed significantly (P < 0.01) increased Thy1 expression in PDAC compared with chronic pancreatitis and normal pancreas tissue.Conclusions: A dual human and murine Thy1-binding scFv was designed to generate contrast microbubbles to allow PDAC detection with ultrasound. Clin Cancer Res; 24(7); 1574-85. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Contrast Media / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microbubbles
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Contrast Media
  • Thy-1 Antigens

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma