Carcinoembryonic antigen-targeted photodynamic therapy in colorectal cancer models

EJNMMI Res. 2019 Dec 11;9(1):108. doi: 10.1186/s13550-019-0580-z.


Background: In colorectal cancer, survival of patients is drastically reduced when complete resection is hampered by involvement of critical structures. Targeted photodynamic therapy (tPDT) is a local and targeted therapy which could play a role in eradicating residual tumor cells after incomplete resection. Since carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA; CEACAM5) is abundantly overexpressed in colorectal cancer, it is a potential target for tPDT of colorectal cancer.

Methods: To address the potential of CEA-targeted PDT, we compared colorectal cancer cell lines with different CEA-expression levels (SW-48, SW-480, SW-620, SW-1222, WiDr, HT-29, DLD-1, LS174T, and LoVo) under identical experimental conditions. We evaluated the susceptibility to tPDT by varying radiant exposure and concentration of our antibody conjugate (DTPA-hMN-14-IRDye700DX). Finally, we assessed the efficacy of tPDT in vivo in 18 mice (BALB/cAnNRj-Foxn1nu/nu) with subcutaneously xenografted LoVo tumors.

Results: In vitro, the treatment effect of tPDT varied per cell line and was dependent on both radiant exposure and antibody concentration. Under standardized conditions (94.5 J/cm2 and 0.5 μg/μL antibody conjugate concentration), the effect of tPDT was higher in cells with higher CEA availability: SW-1222, LS174T, LoVo, and SW-48 (22.8%, 52.8%, 49.9%, and 51.9% reduction of viable cells, respectively) compared to cells with lower CEA availability. Compared to control groups (light or antibody conjugate only), tumor growth rate was reduced in mice with s.c. LoVo tumors receiving tPDT.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest cells (and tumors) have different levels of susceptibility for tPDT even though they all express CEA. Furthermore, tPDT can effectively reduce tumor growth in vivo.

Keywords: Carcinoembryonic antigen; Colorectal cancer; IRDye700DX; Targeted; Targeted photodynamic therapy.