Contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging for monitoring the efficacy of near-infrared photoimmunotherapy

Kohei, Matsuoka, Mizuki, Yamada, Noriaki, Fukatsu, Kyoichi, Goto, Misae, Shimizu, Ayako, Kato, Yoshimi, Kato, Hiroshi, Yukawa, Yoshinobu, Baba, Mitsuo, Sato, Kazuhide, Sato

eBioMedicine |

Background: Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) is a promising cancer therapy combining NIR-light irradiation with an antibody and IR700DX, a light-sensitive substance, to destroy tumours. However, homogeneous irradiation is difficult because the light varies depending on the distance and tissue environment. Therefore, markers that indicate sufficient irradiation are necessary. Nanoparticles sized 10∼200 nm show enhanced permeation and retention within tumours, which is further enhanced via NIR-PIT (super enhanced permeability and retention, SUPR). We aimed to monitor the effectiveness of NIR-PIT by measuring SUPR. Methods: A xenograft mouse tumour model was established by inoculating human cancer cells in both buttocks of Balb/C-nu/nu mice, and NIR-PIT was performed on only one side. To evaluate SUPR, fluorescent signal examination was performed using QD800-fluorescent nanoparticles and NIR-fluorescent poly (D,L-lactide-co-glycolic acid) (NIR-PLGA) microparticles. Harmonic signals were evaluated using micro-bubbles of the contrast agent Sonazoid and contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) imaging. The correlation between SUPR immediately after treatment and NIR-PIT effectiveness on the day after treatment was evaluated. Findings: QD800 fluorescent signals persisted only in the treated tumours, and the intensity of remaining signals showed high positive correlation with the therapeutic effect. NIR-PLGA fluorescent signals and Sonazoid-derived harmonic signals remained for a longer time in the treated tumours than in the controls, and the kE value of the two-compartment model correlated with NIR-PIT effectiveness. Interpretation: SUPR measurement using Sonazoid and CEUS imaging could be easily adapted for clinical use as a therapeutic image-based biomarker for monitoring and confirming of NIR-PIT efficacy. Funding: This research was supported by ARIM JAPAN of MEXT, the Program for Developing Next-generation Researchers (Japan Science and Technology Agency), KAKEN (18K15923, 21K07217) (JSPS), CREST (JPMJCR19H2, JST), and FOREST-Souhatsu (JST). Mochida Memorial Foundation for Medical and Pharmaceutical Research; Takeda Science Foundation; The Japan Health Foundation; and Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund. Funders only provided financial support and had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and writing of the report.