Nucl Med Commun. 2023 Oct 30. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000001761. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is an important biomarker for targeted gastric cancer (GC) immunotherapy. However, heterogeneous HER2 overexpression in GC, loss of HER2 expression during therapy, and inability to non-invasively identify HER2 overexpressing tumors impede effective targeting therapies. Improved HER2-specific functional imaging can address these challenges. Trastuzumab is a HER2-directed mAb to treat HER2 overexpressing cancers. The 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab radiotracer is used to detect HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. We aimed to develop 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab PET-CT to detect and characterize tumor uptake in HER2+ or – GC patients.
METHODS: We conducted a single-arm phase II pilot study exploring the feasibility of 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab for PET imaging of HER2 overexpressing GC compared to HER2 non-expressing tumors. Eight patients with biopsy-confirmed gastric adenocarcinoma were included. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate primary tumor biopsies for HER2 overexpression. Patients were injected with 45 mg of cold trastuzumab followed by 5 mg of 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab. PET-CT scans were performed 24-48 h post radiotracer injection and compared to standard staging CT scans.
RESULTS: We observed limited toxicity following 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab injections. While there was uptake of the radiotracer in portions of HER2+ lesions, there was no statistically significant distinction between tumor and background by standardized uptake value analysis.
CONCLUSION: Despite the potential of 64Cu-DOTA-trastuzumab PET imaging of HER2+ metastatic breast cancer, a 5 mg dose of this radiotracer injected 24-48 h before imaging was insufficient to identify HER2+ GC. These results inform future GC imaging studies to optimize biomarker-targeted therapies based on dosage and timing for more clinically relevant imaging.