Comparative Evaluation of Affibody Molecules for Radionuclide Imaging of in Vivo Expression of Carbonic Anhydrase IX

Javad Garousi, Hadis Honarvar, Ken G. Andersson, Bogdan Mitran, Anna Orlova, Jos Buijs, John Löfblom, Fredrik Y. Frejd, Vladimir Tolmachev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Overexpression of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is documented for chronically hypoxic malignant tumors as well as for normoxic renal cell carcinoma. Radionuclide molecular imaging of CAIX would be useful for detection of hypoxic areas in malignant tumors, for patients' stratification for CAIX-targeted therapies, and for discrimination of primary malignant and benign renal tumors. Earlier, we have reported feasibility of in vivo radionuclide based imaging of CAIX expressing tumors using Affibody molecules, small affinity proteins based on a nonimmunoglobulin scaffold. In this study, we compared imaging properties of several anti-CAIX Affibody molecules having identical scaffold parts and competing for the same epitope on CAIX, but having different binding paratopes. Four variants were labeled using residualizing 99mTc and nonresidualizing 125I labels. All radiolabeled variants demonstrated high-affinity detection of CAIX-expressing cell line SK-RC-52 in vitro and specific accumulation in SK-RC-52 xenografts in vivo. 125I-labeled conjugates demonstrated much lower radioactivity uptake in kidneys but higher radioactivity concentration in blood compared with 99mTc-labeled counterparts. Although all variants cleared rapidly from blood and nonspecific compartments, there was noticeable difference in their biodistribution. The best variant for imaging of expression of CAIX in disseminated cancer was 99mTc-(HE)3-ZCAIX:2 providing tumor uptake of 16.3 ± 0.9% ID/g and tumor-to-blood ratio of 44 ± 7 at 4 h after injection. For primary renal cell carcinoma, the most promising imaging candidate was 125I-ZCAIX:4 providing tumor-kidney ratio of 2.1 ± 0.5. In conclusion, several clones of scaffold proteins should be evaluated to select the best variant for development of an imaging probe with optimal sensitivity for the intended application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3676-3687
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • affibody molecule
  • CAIX
  • imaging
  • radionuclide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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