Pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common lung cancer subtype and has a low 5-year survival rate at 17.6%. Complete resection with negative margins can be curative, but a high number of patients suffer early postoperative recurrence due to inadequate disease clearance at the index operation. Intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) with tumor-targeted optical contrast agents is effective in improving resection completeness for other tumor types, but there are no IMI tracers targeted to pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma. In this report, we describe the use of a novel prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeted nearinfrared conjugate (OTL78) to identify pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma. We identified PSMA as a viable target by examining its expression in human lung tumor specimens from a surgical cohort. Ninety-four percent of tumors expressed PSMA in either the pulmonary squamous cells or the tumor neovasculature. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we found that OTL78 reliably localized pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma in a PSMA-dependent manner. Finally, we found that IMI with OTL78 markedly improved surgeons' ability to identify residual disease after surgery in a preclinical model. Ultimately, this novel optical tracer may aid surgical resection of pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma and potentially improve long-term outcomes.
- Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/diagnostic imaging
- Lung Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research