Molecular imaging with a fluorescent antibody targeting carbonic anhydrase IX can successfully detect hypoxic ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast

Aram S.A. Van Brussel, Arthur Adams, Jeroen F. Vermeulen, Sabrina Oliveira, Elsken Van Der Wall, Willem P.Th M. Mali, Paul J. Van Diest, Paul M.P. Van Bergen En Henegouwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast is difficult to remove completely during surgery as it is not palpable and can therefore require re-excision. Real-time visualization of DCIS using near-infrared fluorescent probes could help the surgeon during surgery as well as the pathologist post-operatively to distinguish the tumor from healthy tissue. As hypoxia-induced necrosis is a common phenomenon in DCIS, we investigated the molecular imaging of DCIS using a fluorescent antibody targeting a hypoxia marker, carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), in a preclinical mouse model. A monoclonal antibody against human CAIX was fluorescently labeled with the near-infrared dye IRDye800CW and characterized in vitro. An in vivo study was performed in SCID/Beige mice that were orthotopically transplanted with human breast cancer cells mimicking human DCIS (MCF10DCIS) and MCF10DCIS stably expressing CAIX. A clinically approved fluorescence imaging system was used to monitor probe uptake and to determine tumor-to-normal tissue ratios (TNR). Mean in vivo TNR of CAIX-transduced (CAIX+) tumors was 7.5 ± 0.5. Mean in vivo TNR of DCIS tumors with hypoxic areas reached a plateau level at 48 h after injection of 2.1 ± 0.1 (mean ± SEM) compared to 1.7 ± 0.1 in DCIS without hypoxic areas. Mean intra-operative TNR of DCIS tumors with necrotic regions was higher than that of DCIS tumors without necrotic regions 96 h after injection - 2.9 ± 0.1 and 1.5 ± 0.1, respectively - while the TNR of CAIX+ tumors was 11.2 ± 1.0. Specific tumor uptake of MabCAIX-IRDye800CW was confirmed by a biodistribution assay, and immunofluorescence imaging on tumor sections showed specific uptake in hypoxic tumor regions, with higher contrast than conventional chromagen-based immunohistochemistry. Molecular fluorescence imaging with MabCAIX-IRDye800CW can be successfully used to detect hypoxic DCIS before and during surgery to facilitate radical resection. Furthermore, it allows for sensitive CAIX-specific immunofluorescence microscopy of tumor sections, thereby introducing the concept of molecular fluorescence pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Carbonic anhydrase IX
  • DCIS
  • Hypoxia
  • Molecular imaging
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Near-infrared

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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