Folate receptor α (FRα) is a well-studied tumor biomarker highly expressed in many epithelial tumors such as breast, ovarian, and lung cancers. Mirvetuximab soravtansine (IMGN853) is the antibody-drug conjugate of FRα-binding humanized monoclonal antibody M9346A and cytotoxic maytansinoid drug DM4. IMGN853 is currently being evaluated in multiple clinical trials, in which the immunohistochemical evaluation of an archival tumor or biopsy specimen is used for patient screening. However, limited tissue collection may lead to inaccurate diagnosis due to tumor heterogeneity. Herein, we developed a zirconium-89 (89Zr)-radiolabeled M9346A (89Zr-M9346A) as an immuno-positron emission tomography (immuno-PET) radiotracer to evaluate FRα expression in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients, providing a novel means to guide intervention with therapeutic IMGN853. In this study, we verified the binding specificity and immunoreactivity of 89Zr-M9346A by in vitro studies in FRαhigh cells (HeLa) and FRαlow cells (OVCAR-3). In vivo PET/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging in HeLa xenografts and TNBC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models with various levels of FRα expression demonstrated its targeting specificity and sensitivity. Following PET imaging, the treatment efficiencies of IMGN853, pemetrexed, IMGN853 + pemetrexed, paclitaxel, and saline were assessed in FRαhigh and FRαlow TNBC PDX models. The correlation between 89Zr-M9346A tumor uptake and treatment response using IMGN853 in FRαhigh TNBC PDX model suggested the potential of 89Zr-M9346A PET as a noninvasive tool to prescreen patients based on the in vivo PET imaging for IMGN853-targeted treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3996-4006
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 3 2019


  • antibody-drug conjugate
  • companion diagnostic
  • folate receptor α
  • image-guided therapy
  • immuno-PET


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