Dual-Isotope Cryoimaging Quantitative Autoradiography: Investigating Antibody-Drug Conjugate Distribution and Payload Delivery Through Imaging

J Nucl Med. 2018 Sep;59(9):1461-1466. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.118.207753. Epub 2018 May 4.


In vitro properties of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) such as binding, internalization, and cytotoxicity are often well characterized before in vivo studies. Interpretation of in vivo studies might be significantly enhanced by molecular imaging tools. We present here a dual-isotope cryoimaging quantitative autoradiography (CIQA) methodology combined with advanced 3-dimensional imaging and analysis allowing for the simultaneous study of both antibody and payload distribution in tissues of interest in a preclinical setting. Methods: TAK-264, an investigational ADC targeting anti-guanylyl cyclase C (GCC), was synthesized using tritiated monomethyl auristatin E. The tritiated ADC was then conjugated to diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid, labeled with 111In, and evaluated in vivo in animals bearing GCC-positive and GCC-negative tumors. Results: CIQA revealed the time course of drug release from ADC and its distribution into various tumor regions that are less accessible to the antibody. For GCC-positive tumors, a representative section obtained 96 h after tracer injection showed only 0.8% of the voxels to have colocalized signal, versus over 15% of the voxels for a GCC-negative tumor section, suggesting successful and specific cleaving of the toxin in the GCC-positive lesions. Conclusion: The combination of a veteran established autoradiography technology with advanced image analysis methodologies affords an experimental tool that can support detailed characterization of ADC tumor penetration and pharmacokinetics.

Keywords: antibody–drug conjugate; autoradiography; dual isotope.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Autoradiography
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Indium Radioisotopes*
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Pentetic Acid / chemistry
  • Radiochemistry
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography / methods*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • indusatumab
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Indium-111