99mTc-A1 as a Novel Imaging Agent Targeting Mesothelin-Expressing Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Oct 10;11(10):1531. doi: 10.3390/cancers11101531.


Mesothelin is a membrane-associated protein overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Some mesothelin-targeted therapies are in clinical development but the identification of patients eligible for such therapies is still challenging. The objective of this study was to perform the imaging of mesothelin in mice models of PDAC with a technetium-labeled anti-mesothelin single-domain antibody (99mTc-A1).

Methods: The Cancer Genomic Atlas (TCGA) database was used to determine the prognostic role of mesothelin in PDAC. 99mTc-A1 was evaluated both in vitro in PDAC cells (SW1990 and AsPC-1) and in vivo in an experimental model of mesothelin-expressing PDAC (AsPC-1) in mice.

Results: TCGA analysis showed that PDAC patients with high mesothelin expression had a shorter overall survival (P = 0.00066). The binding of 99mTc-A1 was 2.1-fold greater in high-mesothelin-expressing AsPC-1 cells when compared to moderate-mesothelin-expressing SW1990 cells (p < 0.05). In vivo, the 99mTc-A1 uptake was 3.5-fold higher in AsPC-1-derived tumors as compared to a technetium-labeled irrelevant antibody (99mTc-Ctl) (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: 99mTc-A1 accurately allows imaging of mesothelin-expressing experimental PDAC tumors. Our experiments paved the way for the development of a companion test for mesothelin-targeted therapies.

Keywords: Mesothelin; PDAC; noninvasive imaging.