In Vivo Fluorescence Imaging of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Using Fluorophore-Conjugated Anti-KIT Antibody
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Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are frequently characterized by KIT overexpression. Tumor-free margins and complete cytoreduction of disease are mainstays of treatment. We hypothesized that fluorescently labeled anti-KIT antibodies can label GIST in vivo.
KIT K641E+/− transgenic mice that spontaneously develop cecal GISTs were used in this study, with C57BL/6 mice serving as controls. Alexa 488 fluorophore-conjugated anti-KIT antibodies were delivered via the tail vein 24 h prior to fluorescence imaging. Following fluorescence laparoscopy, mice were sacrificed. The gastrointestinal tracts were grossly examined for tumors followed by fluorescence imaging. Tumors were harvested for histologic confirmation.
KIT K641E+/− mice and C57BL/6 control mice received anti-KIT antibody or isotope control antibody. Fluorescence laparoscopy had a high tumor signal-to-background noise ratio. Upon blinded review of intravital fluorescence and bright light images, there were 2 false-positive and 0 false-negative results. The accuracy was 92 %. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were 100, 87, 85, and 100 %, respectively, for the combined modalities.
In this study, we present a method for in vivo fluorescence labeling of GIST in a murine model. Several translatable applications include: laparoscopic staging; visualization of peritoneal metastases; assessment of margin status; endoscopic differentiation of GISTs from other benign submucosal tumors; and longitudinal surveillance of disease response. This novel approach has clear clinical applications that warrant further research and development.
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