Theranostics 2017; 7(16):4013-4028. doi:10.7150/thno.19304

Research Paper

The Use of PET Imaging for Prognostic Integrin α2β1 Phenotyping to Detect Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Monitor Drug Resistance Responses

Chiun-Wei Huang1, Wen-Chuan Hsieh1*, Shih-Ting Hsu1*, Yi-Wen Lin1, Yi-Hsiu Chung1, Wen-Chi Chang1, Han Chiu1, Yun Han Lin1, Chung-Pu Wu2, 3, 4, 5, Tzu-Chen Yen1, 6✉, Feng-Ting Huang7✉

1. Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging and Translation (CAMIT), Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Tao-yuan, Taiwan;
2. Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan;
3. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan;
4. Molecular Medicine Research Center, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan;
5. Department of Neurosurgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan;
6. Department of Nuclear Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan;
7. Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
* Wen-Chuan Hsieh and Shih-Ting Hsu contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Growing evidence has demonstrated that aberrant expression of integrin α2β1 might contribute to the invasion, metastasis and drug resistance of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Thus, the integrin α2β1 targeting 68Ga-DOTA-A2B1 tracer was validated in NSCLC in contrast to accumulation of the clinically used 18F-FDG PET tracer to see if 68Ga-DOTA-A2B1-PET imaging can offer a valuable and critical diagnostic imaging criterion for the identification of phenotypes of aggressive lung cancer.

METHODS: To verify the prognostic value of integrin α2β1, several quantitative and functional in vitro assays were validated in different NSCLC cell lines (CL1-0, CL1-5, A549 and selected A549++ cells). Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies using both standard 18F-FDG and a newly developed 68Ga-labeled integrin α2β1 (68Ga-DOTA-A2B1) tracer were sequentially performed on mice with lung tumor xenografts in different anatomic locations (subcutaneous, orthotopic and osseous) to validate the targeting capability of the 68Ga-DOTA-A2B1 tracers. Treatment responses were monitored by injecting animals with metastatic bone tumors with 5 mg/kg doxorubicin. All in vivo treatment responses in each treatment subgroup were monitored with a PET imaging system to evaluate the up-regulation of integrin expression at the earliest stage of treatment (6 h).

RESULTS: The PET and computed tomography (CT) images from NSCLC xenograft animals unambiguously demonstrated accumulation of the integrin tracer 68Ga-DOTA-A2B1 in the tumor lesions at all locations. The average tumor uptake and tumor-to-normal (T/N) ratio were 2.51 ± 0.56 %ID/g and T/N = 2.82, 3.40 ± 0.42 %ID/g and T/N = 1.52, and 1.58 ± 0.108 %ID/g and T/N = 2.31 in subcutaneous, orthotopic and osseous tumors, respectively (n = 5; p < 0.05). The xenograft tumors were all clearly visible. In contrast, the accumulation of 18F-FDG reached 3.6 ± 0.76 %ID/g, 1.39 ± 0.075 %ID/g and 3.78 ± 0.73 %ID/g in subcutaneous, orthotopic and osseous tumors, respectively (n = 5; p < 0.05). However, due to the high background uptake by normal tissue, the T/N values were less than or close to 1, making the tumors almost indistinguishable in the PET imaging analysis. Furthermore, 68Ga-DOTA-A2B1-PET imaging of the treated osseous tumor model demonstrated more than 19% tracer uptake in A549 lesions (1.72 ± 0.95 %ID/g vs. pretreatment 1.44 ± 0.12 %ID/g,p = 0. 015) 6 h post-treatment with doxorubicin. The elevated intensity of tracer uptake was in accordance with the results of in vitroWestern blot and ex vivo integrin staining, demonstrating elevated integrin α2β1 expression.

CONCLUSION: In this study, integrin α2β1 was identified as a biomarker of aggressive malignant NSCLC. Thus, efforts should be devoted to validating integrin α2β1 as a potential target for non-invasive diagnosis and as a predictive marker for monitoring treatment responses using a preclinical PET imaging system.

Keywords: Integrin α2β1, Positron emission tomography, Non-small cell lung cancer, Phenotyping imaging, Treatment response monitoring.

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How to cite this article:
Huang CW, Hsieh WC, Hsu ST, Lin YW, Chung YH, Chang WC, Chiu H, Lin YH, Wu CP, Yen TC, Huang FT. The Use of PET Imaging for Prognostic Integrin α2β1 Phenotyping to Detect Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Monitor Drug Resistance Responses. Theranostics 2017; 7(16):4013-4028. doi:10.7150/thno.19304. Available from http://www.thno.org/v07p4013.htm