Purpose: To develop optoacoustic, spectrally distinct, actively targeted gold nanoparticle-based near-infrared probes (trastuzumab [TRA], TRA-Aurelia-1, and TRA-Aurelia-2) that can be individually identifiable at multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast tumors.
Materials and Methods: Gold nanoparticle-based near-infrared probes (Aurelia-1 and 2) that are optoacoustically active and spectrally distinct for simultaneous MSOT imaging were synthesized and conjugated to TRA to produce TRA-Aurelia-1 and 2. Freshly resected human HER2-positive (n = 6) and HER2-negative (n = 6) triple-negative breast cancer tumors were treated with TRA-Aurelia-1 and TRA-Aurelia-2 for 2 hours and imaged with MSOT. HER2-expressing DY36T2Q cells and HER2-negative MDA-MB-231 cells were implanted orthotopically into mice (n = 5). MSOT imaging was performed 6 hours following the injection, and the Friedman test was used for analysis.
Results: TRA-Aurelia-1 (absorption peak, 780 nm) and TRA-Aurelia-2 (absorption peak, 720 nm) were spectrally distinct. HER2-positive human breast tumors exhibited a significant increase in optoacoustic signal following TRA-Aurelia-1 (28.8-fold) or 2 (29.5-fold) (P = .002) treatment relative to HER2-negative tumors. Treatment with TRA-Aurelia-1 and 2 increased optoacoustic signals in DY36T2Q tumors relative to those in MDA-MB-231 controls (14.8-fold, P < .001; 20.8-fold, P < .001, respectively). Conclusion: The study demonstrates that TRA-Aurelia 1 and 2 nanoparticles operate as a spectrally distinct HER2 breast tumor-targeted in vivo optoacoustic agent.