Surgical cure of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains hampered by inadequately resected tumors and poor recognition of lesions with malignant potential. BLZ-100 is a chlorotoxin-based, tumor-targeting agent that has not yet been studied in HNSCC.
To evaluate BLZ-100 uptake in models of HNSCC and oral dysplasia.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This was an observational study (including sensitivity and specificity analysis) of BLZ-100 uptake in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model of HNSCC and a carcinogen-induced dysplasia model of hamster cheek pouches.
Various HNSCC xenografts were established in the tongues of NOD-scid IL2Rgammanull (NSG) mice. BLZ-100 was intravenously injected and fluorescence uptake was measured. To induce dysplasia, the carcinogen 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) was applied to the cheek pouch of Golden Syrian hamsters for 9 to16 weeks. BLZ-100 was subcutaneously injected, and fluorescence uptake was measured.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The signal-to-background ratio (SBR) of BLZ-100 was measured in tumor xenografts. To calculate the sensitivity and specificity of BLZ-100 uptake, a digital grid was placed over tissue sections and correlative histologic sections to discretely measure fluorescence intensity and presence of tumor; a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was then plotted. In the hamster dysplasia model, cheeks were graded according to dysplasia severity. The SBR of BLZ-100 was compared among dysplasia grades.
In HNSCC xenografts, BLZ-100 demonstrated a mean (SD) SBR of 2.51 (0.47). The ROC curve demonstrated an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.89; an SBR of 2.50 corresponded to 92% sensitivity and 74% specificity. When this analysis was focused on the tumor and nontumor interface, the AUC increased to 0.97; an SBR of 2.50 corresponded to 95% sensitivity and 91% specificity. DMBA treatment of hamster cheek pouches generated lesions representing all grades of dysplasia. The SBR of high-grade dysplasia was significantly greater than that of mild-to-moderate dysplasia (2.31 [0.71] vs 1.51 [0.34], P = .006).
Conclusions and Relevance
BLZ-100 is a sensitive and specific marker of HNSCC and can distinguish high-risk from low-risk dysplasia. BLZ-100 has the potential to serve as an intraoperative guide for tumor margin excision and identification of premalignant lesions.
Baik FM, Hansen S, Knoblaugh SE, Sahetya D, Mitchell RM, Xu C, Olson JM, Parrish-Novak J, Méndez E. Fluorescence Identification of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma and High-Risk Oral Dysplasia With BLZ-100, a Chlorotoxin-Indocyanine Green Conjugate. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(4):330-338. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.3617