Evaluation of a Centyrin-Based Near-Infrared Probe for Fluorescence-Guided Surgery of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Positive Tumors

Sakkarapalayam M. Mahalingam, Vadim Y. Dudkin, Shalom Goldberg, Donna Klein, Fang Yi, Sunil Singhal, Karyn T. O'Neil, Philip S. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Tumor-targeted near-infrared fluorescent dyes have the potential to improve cancer surgery by enabling surgeons to locate and resect more malignant lesions where good visualization tools are required to ensure complete removal of malignant tissue. Although the tumor-targeted fluorescent dyes used in humans to date have been either small organic molecules or high molecular weight antibodies, low molecular weight protein scaffolds have attracted significant attention because they penetrate solid tumors almost as efficiently as small molecules, but can be infinitely mutated to bind almost any antigen. Here we describe the use of a 10 kDa protein scaffold, a Centyrin, to target a near-infrared fluorescent dye to tumors that overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) for fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS). We have developed and optimized the dose and time required for imaging small tumor burdens with minimal background fluorescence in real-time fluorescence-guided surgery of EGFR-expressing tumor xenografts in murine models. We demonstrate that the Centyrin-near-infrared dye conjugate (CNDC) binds selectively to human EGFR+ cancer cells with an EC50 of 2 nM, localizes to EGFR+ tumor xenografts in athymic nude mice and that uptake of the dye in xenografts is significantly reduced when EGFR are blocked by preinjection of excess unlabeled Centyrin. Taken together, these data suggest that CNDCs can be used for intraoperative identification and surgical removal of EGFR-expressing lesions and that Centyrins targeted to other tumor-specific antigens should prove similarly useful in fluorescence guided surgery of cancer. In addition, we demonstrate that the CNDC is detected in the NIR region of the spectrum and can be utilized for fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS). In addition, we propose that with its eventual complete clearance from EGFR-negative tissues and its quantitative retention in the tumor mass for >24 h, a Centyrin-targeted NIR dye should provide excellent tumor contrast when injected at least 6-8 h before initiation of cancer surgery in human patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2865-2873
Number of pages9
JournalBioconjugate chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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