Feasibility of imaging of epidermal growth factor receptor expression with ZEGFR:2377 affibody molecule labeled with 99mTc using a peptide-based cysteine-containing chelator

Ken G. Andersson, Maryam Oroujeni, Javad Garousi, Bogdan Mitran, Stefan Ståhl, Anna Orlova, John Löfblom, Vladimir Tolmachev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in a number of malignant tumors and is a molecular target for several specific anticancer antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The overexpression of EGFR is a predictive biomarker for response to several therapy regimens. Radionuclide molecular imaging might enable detection of EGFR overexpression by a non-invasive procedure and could be used repeatedly. Affibody molecules are engineered scaffold proteins, which could be selected to have a high affinity and selectivity to predetermined targets. The anti-EGFR ZEGFR:2377 affibody molecule is a potential imaging probe for EGFR detection. The use of the generator-produced radionuclide 99mTc should facilitate clinical translation of an imaging probe due to its low price, availability and favorable dosimetry of the radionuclide. In the present study, we evaluated feasibility of ZEGFR:2377 labeling with 99mTc using a peptide-based cysteine-containing chelator expressed at the C-terminus of ZEGFR:2377. The label was stable in vitro under cysteine challenge. In addition, 99mTc-ZEGFR:2377 was capable of specific binding to EGFR-expressing cells with high affinity (274 pM). Studies in BALB/C nu/nu mice bearing A431 xenografts demonstrated that 99mTc-ZEGFR:2377 accumulates in tumors in an EGFR-specific manner. The tumor uptake values were 3.6±1 and 2.5±0.4% ID/g at 3 and 24 h after injection, respectively. The corresponding tumor-to-blood ratios were 1.8±0.4 and 8±3. The xenografts were clearly visualized at both time-points. This study demonstrated the potential of 99mTc-labeled ZEGFR:2377 for imaging of EGFR in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2285-2293
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • A431
  • Affibody molecules
  • Biodistribution
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor
  • Radionuclide molecular imaging
  • Technetium-99m

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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