Zr-atezolizumab imaging as a non-invasive approach to assess clinical response to PD-L1 blockade in cancer

Journal: Nature Medicine

Published: 2018-11-26

DOI: 10.1038/s41591-018-0255-8

Affiliations: 7

Authors: 21

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Research Highlight

PET imaging offers window into immunotherapy responses

© BanksPhotos/Getty

© BanksPhotos/Getty

Non-invasive imaging with a radiolabelled antibody drug can help predict patient responses to cancer immunotherapy, according to a small clinical trial in the Netherlands.

A Dutch clinical team partnered with scientists from the Roche subsidiary Genentech to measure expression levels of the immune checkpoint protein PD-L1 in 22 patients with cancers of the breast cancer, lung and bladder.

The researchers tested for PD-L1 status using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and an experimental ‘tracer’ molecule — a zirconium-89-labelled version of Genentech’s PD-L1–targeted agent atezolizumab — as well as more traditional chemical and genetic analyses of biopsied tumour tissue.

They found that the PET imaging signal corresponded to PD-L1 expression at sites of inflammation and in normal lymphoid tissues.

What’s more, the imaging offered a better predictor of survival outcomes after subsequent treatment with unlabelled atezolizumab than PD-L1 staining or sequencing strategies, highlighting the value of PET scans for selecting cancer patients best suited for immunotherapy.

Supported content

  1. Nature Medicine 24, 1852–1858 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41591-018-0255-8
Institutions Share
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), RUG, Netherlands 0.71
Genentech, Inc., United States of America (USA) 0.19
UMC Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Netherlands 0.05
F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Switzerland 0.05