Purpose: Macrophage mannose receptor (MMR, CD206) expressing tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are protumorigenic and was reported to negatively impact therapy responsiveness and is associated with higher chances of tumor relapse following multiple treatment regimens in preclinical tumor models. Since the distribution of immune cells within the tumor is often heterogeneous, sampling "errors" using tissue biopsies will occur. In order to overcome this limitation, we propose positron emission tomography (PET)/X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging using 68Ga-labeled anti-MMR single-domain antibody fragment (sdAb) to assess the presence of these protumorigenic TAM.
Procedures: Cross-reactive anti-MMR-sdAb was produced according to good manufacturing practice (GMP) and conjugated to p-SCN-Bn-NOTA bifunctional chelator for 68Ga-labeling. Biodistribution and PET/CT studies were performed in wild-type and MMR-deficient 3LL-R tumor-bearing mice. Biodistribution data obtained in mice were extrapolated to calculate radiation dose estimates for the human adult using OLINDA software. A 7-day repeated dose toxicity study for NOTA-anti-MMR-sdAb was performed in healthy mice up to a dose of 1.68 mg/kg.
Results: [68Ga]Ga-NOTA-anti-MMR-sdAb was obtained with 76 ± 2 % radiochemical yield, 99 ± 1 % radiochemical purity, and apparent molar activity of 57 ± 11 GBq/μmol. In vivo biodistribution analysis showed fast clearance via the kidneys and retention in MMR-expressing organs and tumor, with tumor-to-blood and tumor-to-muscle ratios of 6.80 ± 0.62 and 5.47 ± 1.82, respectively. The calculated effective dose was 0.027 mSv/MBq and 0.034 mSv/MBq for male and female, respectively, which means that a proposed dose of 185 MBq in humans would yield a radiation dose of 5.0 and 6.3 mSv to male and female patients, respectively. In the toxicity study, no adverse effects were observed.
Conclusions: Preclinical validation of [68Ga]Ga-NOTA-anti-MMR-sdAb showed high specific uptake of this tracer in MMR-expressing TAM and organs, with no observed toxicity. [68Ga]Ga-NOTA-anti-MMR-sdAb is ready for a phase I clinical trial.
Keywords: Macrophage mannose receptor (MMR); PET; Single-domain antibody (sdAb); Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM).