Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection A Feasibility Study
Objectives of the trial
Primary objective The aim is to perform a feasibility study to show that VEGF PET imaging
using 89Zr-bevacizumab as tracer can be used for early breast cancer detection.
Secondary Objectives A secondary aim is whether positive lymph nodes can be detected.
- The primary endpoint will be 89Zr-bevacizumab tracer uptake in primary breast tumors <
- The secondary endpoint will be 89Zr-bevacizumab tracer uptake in axillary lymph nodes.
Patient selection criteria
- Patients with a breast tumor size < 2 cm in diameter (as determined by means of
conventional imaging techniques: mammography, ultrasound or MRI) who are scheduled to
receive operative intervention either by means of a mastectomy or lumpectomy.
- histologically proven breast cancer
- Age > 18 years.
- WHO performance status 0-2 (see: appendix B)
- Signed written informed consent (approved by the Institutional Review Board [IRB]/
Independent Ethics Committee [IEC]) obtained prior to any study specific screening
- Able to comply with the protocol.
- Other invasive malignancy or condition which could affect compliance with the protocol
or interpretation of results.
- Pregnant or lactating women. Documentation of a negative pregnancy test must be
available for pre-menopausal women with intact reproductive organs and for women less
than two years after menopause.
- Prior radiotherapy on the involved area.
- Major surgery within 28 days before the initiation of the study.
- Clinically significant cardiovascular disease.
- Prior allergic reaction to immunoglobulins or immunoglobulin allergy.
Trial Design All patients will undergo a 89Zr-bevacizumab PET scan preoperatively at day 4
following tracer injection (see: section 16 for timetable). The uptake of 89Zr-bevacizumab
in the tumor will be quantified. Results will be fused and compared with standard imaging
techniques and with standard tumor histology as well as specific tumor stainings for
angiogenesis including VEGF staining. Sensitivity and specificity will be compared with
89Zr-bevacizumab PET imaging
Radiolabelling of bevacizumab Conjugation and radiolabeling of the monoclonal antibody is
essentially performed as has been described by Verel et al (15), with only minor adjustments
with regard to purification. In short: FTP-N-sucDf-Fe (kindly provided by the VU University
Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) was conjugated to the mAb at a 10:1 molar ratio.
Fe(III) is subsequently removed by an excess of EDTA (Calbiochem, San Diego, California,
USA) for 30 min at 35°C and the antibody is purified by ultrafiltration (Vivaspin-2
Centrifugal Concentrator, filter 30 kDa, Sartorius, Göttingen, Germany). This purified
antibody is either stored at -80°C or immediately used for radiolabelling. The conjugated
antibody is added to 89Zr-oxalate (100-1000 MBq/mg mAb, kindly provided by the VU University
Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), 0.9% NaCl (Braun Melsungen AG, Oss, The
Netherlands), 2M Na2CO3 (OPG Farma, Utrecht, The Netherlands) and 0.5M HEPES buffer
(Sigma-Aldrich, Zwijndrecht, The Netherlands). After 60 minutes, the radiolabeled antibody
is purified by ultrafiltration Vivaspin-2 Centrifugal Concentrator, filter 30 kDa,
Sartorius, Göttingen, Germany) and diluted in 0.9% NaCl/gentisic acid (5 mg/ml, Merck
Schuchardt OHG, Hohenbrunn, Germany). The 89Zr isotope has a physical t ½ of 78 hours.
89Zr-bevacizumab has radiochemical purity >95% and excellent long term stability in human
serum (> 1 week). Conjugation and radiolabeling is performed in the radiopharmacy facilities
of the department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging under GMP-conditions, under
responsibility of a hospital pharmacist. More detailed information regarding
89Zr-bevacizumab is found in the investigational medicinal medicinal product dossier (IMPD;
PET imaging Patients will be injected intravenously with 37 MBq 89Zr-bevacizumab (protein
dose 5 mg) at day 0. Subsequently, images will be made 4 days after the injection of
89Zr-bevacizumab (see section 16 for timetable). For imaging a Siemens PET/CT camera will be
used. Recording will be performed in 3D mode from lower thorax to neck, in approximately 2
bedpositions. The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging is certified
according to the ISO-NEN-9001 standard. Standard operating procedures for dynamic scanning
will be used for all PET scans. Actual operation of the PET camera and scan acquisition will
be performed by a nuclear medicine technologist. Final image analysis will be performed by a
nuclear medicine specialist. 89Zr-bevacizumab distribution will be scored visually and
The majority of patients will also undergo sentinel node detection for staging of the axilla
during the surgical treatment of the primary tumor. For the sentinel node procedure,
99mTechnetium labeled nanocolloid is used. The anticipated time between 89Zr-bevacizumab and
99mTc-nanocolloid administration will be approximately 2 weeks. By then, 7 half-life
episodes of the 89Zr radiolabel will have passed and its signal will be negligible.
Therefore, no interference of the radiolabel signals is expected.
Radiation dose/safety Use of positron emitting isotopes means exposure to ionizing
radiation. Because of the potential hazards of radiation, guidelines for the exposure of
healthy volunteers are specified in "Besluit Stralingsbescherming (BS 2000), artikel 64 - en
Nota van Toelichting (Staatsblad 2001, 397)", which refers to the guidelines of the
International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). As the kinetics of the antibody
bevacizumab are almost comparable to those of trastuzumab, the radiation dose of 89Zr
labelled bevacizumab is expected to be in the same range as that of 89Zr-trastuzumab.
For estimating the radiation dose to a 'standard female' during 89Zr-trastuzumab scanning,
use was made of available kinetic data from previous 111In-trastuzumab planar imaging. This
is possible as the halftime of 111In is in the same order of magnitude as that of 89Zr and
therefore it enables us to track tracer kinetics over a time period that is also relevant
for 89Zr dosimetry. Using scan-series consisting of 4 consecutive planar scans over a period
of 168 hours, residence times of the main source organs and the whole-body were calculated,
adjusting for the difference in nuclide half-lives. These residence times were fed into the
OLINDA program, which calculates the effective radiation dose using the MIRD scheme. The
final estimate was found from averaging the results from 5 different patients, yielding 18
mSv for an injected dose of 37 MBq. In the current protocol, this would result in a
radiation dose (including the attenuation correction for low dose CT) of 19.5 mSv for women
(and 16.5 mSv for men). According to ICRP 62 this radiation dose falls in category III
Tumor staining In addition to the standard evaluation of the postoperative tumor specimen,
specific staining for VEGF pathway related proteins will be performed including VEGF, CD34
staining for mean vascular density (MVD), SMA for vascular maturation, HIF-1alpha for
hypoxia, VEGF receptors, Ki 67 for proliferation or other relevant staining according to the
most up to date scientific insights.
Clinical evaluation, laboratory tests, follow- up
- Physical examination
- WHO performance score (see appendix B)
- Conventional imaging of the breast (mammography, ultrasound or MRI)
- Histological confirmation of malignant breast lesion
- Evaluation of in- and exclusion criteria
- Signed written informed consent
Criteria of evaluation
PET scan PET scans will be evaluated by a nuclear medicine physician blinded for clinical
information and location of the tumor. The PET data will be correlated to the conventional
imaging data. The final postoperative pathological evaluation will be related to the PET
Tumor staining Evaluation of VEGF related tumor staining will be performed in collaboration
with a pathologist, blinded for clinical information.
In this feasibility study we will postulate high demands to prove the sensitivity of
89Zr-bevacizumab-PET scan to detect breast cancer lesions in order to justify our final
future aim to obtain a good discrimination between benign versus pre-malignant/malignant
lesions with VEGF imaging. Demands for very high sensitivity to detect the tumor with
89Zr-bevacizumab-PET scanning requires a sensitivity no worse than 99%.
We will use a stopping rule with a type 1 error of 5% (one-sided alpha of 5%) and a beta of
10% (~a power of 90%), and external reference values for false negative rates of 0.01 and as
alternative 0.10. An extensive description of the stopping rule with two boundaries, is
included in appendix C.
In the present study, the requirements are p0=0.01, p1=0.10, alpha(rule)=0.05,
beta(rule)=0.10 and alpha(futile)=0.05. After exact calculation, this results in
alpha(n)=0.1364, beta(N)=0.055 and alpha(futile,n)=0.6431, with 47 as the maximum number of
patients. With a true failure rate of 0.01, the probability of passing the upper boundary is
0.049; with a true failure rate of 0.10 this probability is 0.903. The upper boundary,
representing the maximum of acceptable failures, is 1 within the first 35 patients and 2 up
to the total number of 47 patients. Monitoring with the stopping rule can be stopped
(because of futile testing) when no failures are observed within the first 31 patients.
Investigator authorization procedure
The specialist who will treat the patient or his/her research nurse can sign up a patient
To enter patients in this study, during working hours, the data manager should be contacted
University Medical Centre Groningen Department of Medical Oncology Phone: 050-3612053 or
page nr 77045 Eligibility will be checked at the time of registration.
To determine eligibility the following information should be provided:
- Date of birth
- WHO performance score
- Signed written informed consent
- Date of intended surgery (if known)
Forms and procedures for collecting data
Data will be collected on paper case record forms (CRF). CRFs will be collected and data
will be entered anonymously in an Access data base.
Subject identification Patient data are stored under a code without name, that will ensure
Informed consent All patients will be informed of the aims of the study, the possible
adverse events, the procedures and possible hazards to which he/she will be exposed, and the
mechanism of treatment allocation. They will be informed as to the strict confidentiality of
their patient data, but that their medical records may be reviewed for trial purposes by
authorized individuals other than their treating physician. An example of a patient informed
consent statement is given as an appendix to this protocol.
The ethics committee of the UMCG will validate local informed consent documents before start
of the study.
It will be emphasized that the participation is voluntary and that the patient is allowed to
refuse further participation in the protocol whenever he/she wants. This will not prejudice
the patient's subsequent care. Documented informed consent must be obtained for all patients
included in the study before they are registered or randomized in the study. This must be
done in accordance with the national and local regulatory requirements.
The informed consent procedure must conform to the ICH guidelines on Good Clinical Practice.
This implies that "the written informed consent form should be signed and personally dated
by the patient or by the patient's legally acceptable representative".
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
SUV in tumour and lymph nodes
Caroline Schröder, MD PhD
University Medical Centre Groningen
Netherlands: Medical Ethics Review Committee (METC)
VEGF early imaging