Massachusetts General Hospital / Umar Mahmood*
While cancer immunotherapy can produce dramatic responses, only a minority of patients respond to treatment. Reliable response biomarkers are needed to identify responders, and conventional imaging modalities have not proved adequate. Here, we provide a preclinical proof of concept for the use of granzyme B, a downstream effector of tumoral cytotoxic T cells, as an early biomarker for tumors responding to immunotherapy. We designed novel PET imaging probes for the murine and human granzyme B isoforms that specifically and quantitatively bind granzyme B. Immunotherapy-treated mice were imaged prior to therapy-induced tumor volume reduction. Imaging distinguished treated responders from nonresponders with excellent predictive ability. To assess the clinical value of a granzyme B imaging paradigm, biopsy specimens from melanoma patients on checkpoint inhibitor therapy were analyzed. A marked differential in granzyme B expression was observed between treated responders and nonresponders. Additionally, our human probe was able to specifically detect granzyme B expression in human samples, providing a clear candidate for clinical application. Overall, our results suggest granzyme B PET imaging can serve as a quantitatively useful predictive biomarker for efficacious responses to cancer immunotherapy.
Larimer BM1, Wehrenberg-Klee E1, Dubois F1, Mehta A1, Kalomeris T1, Flaherty K2,3, Boland G4, Mahmood U5.
1 Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
2 Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
3 Department of Medical Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
4 Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
5 Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. firstname.lastname@example.org.