Real-time near-infrared fluorescence imaging using cRGD-ZW800-1 for intraoperative visualization of multiple cancer types.

Handgraaf HJM, Boonstra MC, Prevoo HAJM, Kuil J, Bordo MW, Boogerd LSF, Sibinga Mulder BG, Sier CFM, Vinkenburg-van Slooten ML, Valentijn ARPM, Burggraaf J, van de Velde CJH, Frangioni JV, Vahrmeijer AL

Incomplete resections and damage to critical structures increase morbidity and mortality of patients with cancer. Targeted intraoperative fluorescence imaging aids surgeons by providing real-time visualization of tumors and vital structures. This study evaluated the tumor-targeted zwitterionic near-infrared fluorescent peptide cRGD-ZW800-1 as tracer for intraoperative imaging of multiple cancer types. cRGD-ZW800-1 was validated in vitro on glioblastoma (U-87 MG) and colorectal (HT-29) cell lines. Subsequently, the tracer was tested in orthotopic mouse models with HT-29, breast (MCF-7), pancreatic (BxPC-3), and oral (OSC-19) tumors. Dose-ranging studies, including doses of 0.25, 1.0, 10, and 30 nmol, in xenograft tumor models suggest an optimal dose of 10 nmol, corresponding to a human equivalent dose of 63 μg/kg, and an optimal imaging window between 2 and 24 h post-injection. The mean half-life of cRGD-ZW800-1 in blood was 25 min. Biodistribution at 4 h showed the highest fluorescence signals in tumors and kidneys. In vitro and in vivo competition experiments showed significantly lower fluorescence signals when U-87 MG cells (minus 36%, p = 0.02) or HT-29 tumor bearing mice (TBR at 4 h 3.2 ± 0.5 vs 1.8 ± 0.4, p = 0.03) were simultaneously treated with unlabeled cRGD. cRGD-ZW800-1 visualized in vivo all colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and oral tumor xenografts in mice. Screening for off-target interactions, cRGD-ZW800-1 showed only inhibition of COX-2, likely due to binding of cRGD-ZW800-1 to integrin αVβ3. Due to its recognition of various integrins, which are expressed on malignant and neoangiogenic cells, it is expected that cRGD-ZW800-1 will provide a sensitive and generic tool to visualize cancer during surgery.