Clinical Cancer Research publication: Cell-Proliferation Imaging for Monitoring Response to CDK4/6 Inhibition Combined with Endocrine-Therapy in Breast Cancer: Comparison of [18F]FLT and [18F]ISO-1 PET/CT

In this paper, the MOLECUBES β-CUBE and X-CUBE were used to evaluate the performance of [18F]FLT and [18F]ISO-1 PET in predicting response to cell-cycle targeted treatment in estrogen receptor positive metastatic breast cancer.

Clinical Cancer Research. 2019; 25(10)):3063-3073. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-2769. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


Purpose: Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors in combination with endocrine-therapy have emerged as an important regimen of care for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive metastatic breast cancer, although identifying predictive bio- markers remains a challenge. We assessed the ability of two PET-proliferation tracers, [18F]FLT and [18F]ISO-1, for evalu- ating response to CDK4/6-inhibitor (palbociclib) and ER- antagonist (fulvestrant).

Experimental Design: To determine the effect of CDK4/6 inhibition combined with estrogen-blockade, we assessed cell proliferation in six breast cancer cell lines after 1, 3, and 6 days of treatment with palbociclib and/or fulvestrant. These data were correlated to in vitro radiotracer assays and results were verified by longitudinal [18F]FLT and [18F]ISO-1 micro-PET imaging performed in MCF7 tumor-bearing mice.

Results: All palbociclib-sensitive cell lines showed decreased [18F]FLT accumulation and S-phase depletion after treatment, with both measures augmented by combination therapy. In contrast, these cells showed changes in [18F]ISO-1 analogue-binding and G0 arrest only after prolonged treatment. MicroPET imaging of MCF7 xenografts showed a significant decrease in [18F]FLT but no changes in [18F]ISO-1 uptake in all treated mice on day 3. On day 14, however, mice treated with combination therapy showed a significant decrease in [18F]ISO-1, corresponding to G0 arrest, while maintaining reduced [18F]FLT uptake, which corresponded to S-phase depletion.

Conclusions: Our data suggest complementary roles of [18F]FLT and [18F]ISO-1 PET in evaluating tumor-proliferation after combined CDK4/6 inhibitor and endocrine therapy in breast cancer. [18F]FLT is more sensitive to immediate changes in S-phase, whereas [18F]ISO-1 can assess more delayed changes related to cell-cycle arrest and transition to G0 quiescence from combination therapy. These data suggest a potential role for early prediction of long-term response using these imaging biomarkers.