A novel pretargeting method for measuring antibody internalization in tumor cells

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Acids; Animals; Antibodies; Cell Line, Tumor; Cell Membrane; Drug Delivery Systems; Flow Cytometry; Humans; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Mice, Nude; Neoplasms; Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


A novel pretargeting method has been developed to quantitate antibody cellular internalization. In this study, the antibody was conjugated with a phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (MORF) specific for the complementary MORF (cMORF) as an effector. Half the tumor cells were incubated with the MORF-antibody (pretargeting group) and the other half with the same MORF-antibody at the same concentration but radiolabeled (direct targeting group). After incubation, the same dosage of radiolabeled cMORF was added to the wells of the pretargeting group. The radioactivity of the direct targeting cells represented the sum of both internalized and cell-surface-bound antibodies, whereas the radioactivity of the pretargeting cells resulted only from the surface-bound antibodies, as the radiolabeled cMORF does not penetrate the cell surface. Therefore, the difference in radioactivity accumulation between pretargeting and direct targeting provides the internalized fraction. In this example, the internalization of a MORF conjugated anti-prostate-specific membrane antigen antibody, 3C6, in LNCaP cells was examined, and the average cell-surface residence time was determined as 2 hours. This method of measuring antibody internalization is directly applicable to pretargeting applications but can be a universal alternative to the conventional acid-wash method, with the advantage of leaving the cell membrane undamaged.

DOI of Published Version



Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2007 Feb;22(1):33-9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cancer biotherapy and radiopharmaceuticals

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID