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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2010 Aug;37(8):1529-38. doi: 10.1007/s00259-010-1433-1. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

An affinity matured minibody for PET imaging of prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA)-expressing tumors.

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  • 1Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



Prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA), a cell surface glycoprotein expressed in normal human prostate and bladder, is over-expressed in the majority of localized prostate cancer and most bone metastases. We have previously shown that the hu1G8 minibody, a humanized anti-PSCA antibody fragment (single-chain Fv-C(H)3 dimer, 80 kDa), can localize specifically and image PSCA-expressing xenografts at 21 h post-injection. However, the humanization and antibody fragment reformatting decreased its apparent affinity. Here, we sought to evaluate PET imaging contrast with affinity matured minibodies.


Yeast scFv display, involving four rounds of selection, was used to generate the three affinity matured antibody fragments (A2, A11, and C5) that were reformatted into minibodies. These three affinity matured anti-PSCA minibodies were characterized in vitro, and following radiolabeling with (124)I were evaluated in vivo for microPET imaging of PSCA-expressing tumors.


The A2, A11, and C5 minibody variants all demonstrated improved affinity compared to the parental (P) minibody and were ranked as follows: A2 > A11 > C5 > P. The (124)I-labeled A11 minibody demonstrated higher immunoreactivity than the parental minibody and also achieved the best microPET imaging contrast in two xenograft models, LAPC-9 (prostate cancer) and Capan-1 (pancreatic cancer), when evaluated in vivo.


Of the affinity variant minibodies tested, the A11 minibody that ranked second in affinity was selected as the best immunoPET tracer to image PSCA-expressing xenografts. This candidate is currently under development for evaluation in a pilot clinical imaging study.

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