Quantitation of metastatic tumor burden from human colon tumor xenografts using radiolabeled monoclonal antibody 17-A fragments

Shantaram S. Joshi, Sally L. Mann, Margaret A. Tempero, David A. Crouse, Robert A. Stratbucker, Merlon A. Quaife, J. Graham Sharp

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1 Scopus citations


In realistic models of human tumor xenograft metastasis, the metastatic foci arise in perivascular sites and rarely grow to sizes which are easily quantifiable by visual inspection. As an alternative approach, we have used monoclonal antibody (MAb) 17-lA F(ab')2 fragments labelled with radioiodine(l25I) to study the differential accumulation of label in xenografts and metastatic tumor sites as well as in noninvolvcd tissues of NIH Swiss nude mice receiving HT-29 human colon tumor cells. Images of the whole-body distribution and sites of localization were determined using a pinhole-collimatcd Angergamma camera. Radioactivity was determined in tissue samples using a well scintillation system, and pharmacokinetics were assessed during the initial 72 h after injection of antibody fragments. The half-life of125I-F(ab')2: fragments in the blood. 8.6 h, was similar in nontumor-bearing control and tumor-bearing mice. The half-life in subcutaneous tumor xenografts was 30.1 h. The tumor xenograft to tissue activity ratios per unit weight (radiolocalization indices) at 72 h were: blood 90. lung 65. pancreas 50. muscle 35. spleen 20. liver and mesenteric lymph node 10. All subcutaneous xenografts were successfully imaged, and images of 5 of 9 mice (55%) appeared to demonstrate the presence of metastatic tumor by differential and focal accumulation of MAb fragments after 48 or 72 h in the lung (2 cases) or abdominal cavity (3 cases). Necropsy and subsequent histological and biodistribution studies confirmed the presence of metastatic tumor in these sites and identified tumor in several additional sites. The smallest volume of metastatic tissue in liver or lung determined at necropsy which appeared to have been detected by imaging was about 20 mm3. Generally, for mice with metastatic tumors, the radioactivity per unit weight of metastatic tumor-bearing organs compared to tumor-free organs was 2- to 7-fold greater. The results indicate that a radio localization index of ≥ 2 is generally necessary for metastatic tumor detection by imaging although this is influenced by the extent of anatomical location of the tumor. It was possible to predict the tissue distribution of the fragments from the planar image for the amounts of radioactivity (approximately l mCi/kg body weight) employed in this study. These results demonstrate the utility of this approach to quantitate the metastatic burden arising from human colon tumor xenografts in this experimental model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalTumor Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Human colon tumor xenografts
  • Metastases
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Radiolocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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