DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3672-xPages: 1328-1336

89Zr-Onartuzumab PET imaging of c-MET receptor dynamics

1. University of Groningen, Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen

2. University of Groningen, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University Medical Center Groningen

3. University of Groningen, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center Groningen

Correspondence to:
Marjolijn N. Lub-de Hooge
Tel: +31 50 3614084




c-MET and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor are often dysregulated in human cancers. Dynamic changes in c-MET expression occur and might predict drug efficacy or emergence of resistance. Noninvasive visualization of c-MET dynamics could therefore potentially guide c-MET-directed therapies. We investigated the feasibility of 89Zr-labelled one-armed c-MET antibody onartuzumab PET for detecting relevant changes in c-MET levels induced by c-MET-mediated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib resistance or heat shock protein-90 (HSP90) inhibitor NVP-AUY-922 treatment in human non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) xenografts.


In vitro membrane c-MET levels were determined by flow cytometry. HCC827ErlRes, an erlotinib-resistant clone with c-MET upregulation, was generated from the exon-19 EGFR-mutant human NSCLC cell line HCC827. Mice bearing HCC827 and HCC827ErlRes tumours in opposite flanks underwent 89Zr-onartuzumab PET scans. The HCC827-xenografted mice underwent 89Zr-onartuzumab PET scans before treatment and while receiving biweekly intraperitoneal injections of 100 mg/kg NVP-AUY-922 or vehicle. Ex vivo, tumour c-MET immunohistochemistry was correlated with the imaging results.


In vitro, membrane c-MET was upregulated in HCC827ErlRes tumours by 213 ± 44% in relation to the level in HCC827 tumours, while c-MET was downregulated by 69 ± 9% in HCC827 tumours following treatment with NVP-AUY-922. In vivo, 89Zr-onartuzumab uptake was 26% higher (P < 0.05) in erlotinib-resistant HCC827ErlRes than in HCC827 xenografts, while HCC827 tumour uptake was 33% lower (P < 0.001) following NVP-AUY-922 treatment.


The results show that 89Zr-onartuzumab PET effectively discriminates relevant changes in c-MET levels and could potentially be used clinically to monitor c-MET status.

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  • Accepted: Mar 3, 2017
  • Online: Mar 19, 2017

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