Epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2) is upregulated in a number of tumors and therefore remains a promising target for mAb-based therapy. In the current study, image-guided therapy for an anti-EMP2 mAb was evaluated by PET in both syngeneic and immunodeficient cancer models expressing different levels of EMP2 to enable a better understanding of its tumor uptake and off target accumulation and clearance. The therapeutic efficacy of the anti-EMP2 mAb was initially evaluated in high- and low-expressing tumors, and the mAb reduced tumor load for the high EMP2-expressing 4T1 and HEC-1-A tumors. To create an imaging agent, the anti-EMP2 mAb was conjugated to p-SCN-Bn-deferoxamine (DFO) and radiolabeled with 89Zr. Tumor targeting and tissue biodistribution were evaluated in syngeneic tumor models (4T1, CT26, and Panc02) and human tumor xenograft models (Ramos, HEC-1-A, and U87MG/EMP2). PET imaging revealed radioactive accumulation in EMP2-positive tumors within 24 hours after injection, and the signal was retained for 5 days. High specific uptake was observed in tumors with high EMP2 expression (4T1, CT26, HEC-1-A, and U87MG/EMP2), with less accumulation in tumors with low EMP2 expression (Panc02 and Ramos). Biodistribution at 5 days after injection revealed that the tumor uptake ranged from 2 to approximately 16%ID/cc. The results show that anti-EMP2 mAbs exhibit EMP2-dependent tumor uptake with low off-target accumulation in preclinical cancer models. The development of improved anti-EMP2 Ab fragments may be useful to track EMP2-positive tumors for subsequent therapeutic interventions.

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