Effect of Modulating FcRn Binding on Direct and Pretargeted Tumor Uptake of Full-length Antibodies

Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Apr;19(4):1052-1058. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-1015. Epub 2020 Feb 5.


Full-length antibodies lack ideal pharmacokinetic properties for rapid targeted imaging, prompting the pursuit of smaller peptides and fragments. Nevertheless, studying the disposition properties of antibody-based imaging agents can provide critical insight into the pharmacology of their therapeutic counterparts, particularly for those coupled with potent payloads. Here, we evaluate modulation of binding to the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) as a protein engineering-based pharmacologic strategy to minimize the overall blood pool background with directly labeled antibodies and undesirable systemic click reaction of radiolabeled tetrazine with circulating pretargeted trans-cyclooctene (TCO)-modified antibodies. Noninvasive SPECT imaging of mice bearing HER2-expressing xenografts was performed both directly (111In-labeled antibody) and indirectly (pretargeted TCO-modified antibody followed by 111In-labeled tetrazine). Pharmacokinetic modulation of antibodies was achieved by two distinct methods: Fc engineering to reduce binding affinity to FcRn, and delayed administration of an antibody that competes with binding to FcRn. Tumor imaging with directly labeled antibodies was feasible in the absence of FcRn binding, rapidly attaining high tumor-to-blood ratios, but accompanied by moderate liver and spleen uptake. Pretargeted imaging of tumors with non-FcRn-binding antibody was also feasible, but systemic click reaction still occurred, albeit at lower levels than with parental antibody. Our findings demonstrate that FcRn binding impairment of full-length IgG antibodies moderately lowers tumor accumulation of radioactivity, and shifts background activity from blood pool to liver and spleen. Furthermore, reduction of FcRn binding did not eliminate systemic click reaction, but yielded greater improvements in tumor-to-blood ratio when imaging with directly labeled antibodies than with pretargeting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Click Chemistry
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fc / metabolism*
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Fc receptor, neonatal