Specific imaging of VEGF-A expression with radiolabeled anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody



Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is one of the most important angiogenic factors. Here, we studied in a nude mouse model whether the expression of VEGF-A in a tumor could be imaged with a radiolabeled anti-VEGF antibody. The humanized anti-VEGF-A antibody A.4.6.1. (bevacizumab), which is reactive with all VEGF-A isoforms, was radiolabeled with In-111 or with I-125. The accumulation of the radiolabeled antibodies in VEGF-A expressing tumors (LS174T) in nude mice was examined in biodistribution studies and by gamma camera imaging. The uptake of the In-111-bevacizumab in the tumor at 3 days p.i. was significantly higher than that of I-125-bevacizumab (19.4 ± 7.0 %ID/g vs. 9.6 ± 3.3 %ID/g, p = 0.04). Coinjection of an excess unlabeled antibody resulted in a significant decrease in radioactivity concentration in the tumor (<2.9 ± 1.9 %ID/g, p < 0.005), indicating VEGF-mediated antibody uptake. Highest uptake in the tumor was observed at relatively low antibody protein doses (<3 μg) (20–25 %ID/g). VEGF-A-expressing tumors could be clearly visualized on planar scintigraphic images from 24-hr post injection onwards. In conclusion, VEGF-A expression in tumors can be visualized specifically with radiolabeled anti-VEGF-A-mAb. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.