Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness and normal tissue toxicity of radioimmunotherapy (RIT) of s.c. PANC-1 human pancreatic cancer (PnCa) xenografts in NRG mice using anti-EGFR panitumumab linked to metal-chelating polymers (MCPs) that present 13 DOTA chelators to complex the β-emitter, 177Lu. The clonogenic survival (CS) of PANC-1 cells treated in vitro with panitumumab-MCP-177Lu (0.3-1.2 MBq) and DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the nucleus of these cells were measured by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy for γ-H2AX. Subcellular distribution of radioactivity for panitumumab-MCP-177Lu was measured, and absorbed doses to the cell nucleus were calculated. Normal tissue toxicity was assessed in non tumor-bearing NRG mice by monitoring body weight, complete blood cell counts (CBC), serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and creatinine (Cr) after i.v. injection of 6 MBq (10 μg) of panitumumab-MCP-177Lu. RIT was performed in NRG mice with s.c. PANC-1 tumors injected i.v. with 6 MBq (10 μg) of panitumumab-MCP-177Lu. Control mice received nonspecific human IgG-MCP-177Lu (6 MBq; 10 μg), unlabeled panitumumab (10 μg), or normal saline. The tumor growth index (TGI) was compared. Tumor and normal organ doses were estimated based on biodistribution studies. Panitumumab-MCP-177Lu reduced the CS of PANC-1 cells in vitro by 7.7-fold at the highest amount tested (1.2 MBq). Unlabeled panitumumab had no effect on the CS of PANC-1 cells. γ-H2AX foci were increased by 3.8-fold by panitumumab-MCP-177Lu. Panitumumab-MCP-177Lu deposited 3.84 Gy in the nucleus of PANC-1 cells. Administration of panitumumab-MCP-177Lu (6 MBq; 10 μg) to NRG mice caused no change in body weight, CBC, or ALT and only a slight increase in Cr compared to NRG mice treated with normal saline. Panitumumab-MCP-177Lu strongly inhibited tumor growth in NRG mice (TGI = 2.3 ± 0.2) compared to normal saline-treated mice (TGI = 5.8 ± 0.5; P < 0.01). Unlabeled panitumumab had no effect on tumor growth (TGI = 6.0 ± 1.6; P > 0.05). The absorbed dose of PANC-1 tumors was 12.3 Gy. The highest normal organ doses were absorbed by the pancreas, liver, spleen, and kidneys. We conclude that EGFR-targeted RIT with panitumumab-MCP-177Lu was able to overcome resistance to panitumumab in KRAS mutant PANC-1 tumors in NRG mice and may be a promising approach to treatment of PnCa in humans.
Keywords: 177Lu; EGFR; metal-chelating polymers; panitumumab; radioimmunotherapy.