Pathologic axillary lymph node (ALN) status is an important prognostic factor for staging breast cancer. Currently, status is determined by histopathology following surgical excision of sentinel lymph node(s), which is an invasive, time consuming, and costly procedure with potential morbidity to the patient. Here, we describe an imaging platform for noninvasive assessment of ALN status, eliminating the need for surgical examination of patients to rule out nodal involvement. A targeted imaging probe (MamAb-680) was developed by conjugation of a mammaglobin-A-specific monoclonal antibody to a near-infrared fluorescent dye. Using DNA and tissue microarray, mammaglobin-A was validated as a cell-surface target that is expressed in ALN-positive patient samples but is not expressed in normal lymph nodes. In vivo selectivity was determined by i.v. injection of MamAb-680 into mice with mammaglobin-A-positive and -negative mammary fat pad (MFP) tumors; and by peritumoral MFP injection of the targeted imaging probe in mice with spontaneous ALN metastases. Fluorescence imaging showed that probe was only retained in positive tumors and metastases. As few as 1,000 cells that endogenously express mammaglobin-A were detected in ALN, indicating high sensitivity of this method. Translation of this approach offers considerable potential as a noninvasive clinical strategy to stage breast cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research