Noninvasive Interrogation of DLL3 Expression in Metastatic Small Cell Lung Cancer

The Notch ligand DLL3 has emerged as a novel therapeutic target expressed in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and high-grade neuroendocrine carcinomas. Rovalpituzumab teserine (Rova-T; SC16LD6.5) is a first-in-class DLL3-targeted antibody–drug conjugate with encouraging initial safety and efficacy profiles in SCLC in the clinic. Here we demonstrate that tumor expression of DLL3, although orders of magnitude lower in surface protein expression than typical oncology targets of immunoPET, can serve as an imaging biomarker for SCLC. We developed 89Zr-labeled SC16 antibody as a companion diagnostic agent to facilitate selection of patients for treatment with Rova-T based on a noninvasive interrogation of the in vivo status of DLL3 expression using PET imaging. Despite low cell-surface abundance of DLL3, immunoPET imaging with 89Zr-labeled SC16 antibody enabled delineation of subcutaneous and orthotopic SCLC tumor xenografts as well as distant organ metastases with high sensitivity. Uptake of the radiotracer in tumors was concordant with levels of DLL3 expression and, most notably, DLL3 immunoPET yielded rank-order correlation for response to SC16LD6.5 therapy in SCLC patient–derived xenograft models. Cancer Res; 77(14); 3931–41. ©2017 AACR.

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