A Novel Multipurpose Monoclonal Antibody for Evaluating Human c-Met Expression in Preclinical and Clinical Settings

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The inappropriate expression of the c-MET cell surface receptor in many human solid tumors necessitates the development of companion diagnostics to identify those patients who could benefit from c-MET targeted therapies. Tumor tissues are formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) for histopathologic evaluation, making the development of an antibody against c-MET that accurately and reproducibly detects the protein in FFPE samples an urgent need. We have developed a monoclonal antibody (mAb), designated MET4, from a panel of MET-avid mAbs, based on its specific staining pattern in FFPE preparations. The accuracy of MET4 immunohistochemistry (MET4-IHC) was assessed by comparing MET4-IHC in FFPE cell pellets with immunoblotting analysis. The technical reproducibility of MET4-IHC possessed a percentage coefficient of variability of 6.25% in intra-assay and interassay testing. Comparison with other commercial c-MET antibody detection reagents demonstrated equal specificity and increased sensitivity for c-MET detection in prostate tissues. In cohorts of ovarian cancers and gliomas, MET4 reacted with ovarian cancers of all histologic subtypes (strong staining in 25%) and with 63% of gliomas. In addition, MET4 bound c-MET on the surfaces of cultured human cancer cells and tumor xenografts. In summary, the MET4 mAb accurately and reproducibly measures c-MET expression by IHC in FFPE tissues and can be used for molecular imaging in vivo. These properties encourage further development of MET4 as a multipurpose molecular diagnostics reagent to help to guide appropriate selection of patients being considered for treatment with c-MET–antagonistic drugs.

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