Research ArticleCancer Imaging

Endoscopic molecular imaging of human bladder cancer using a CD47 antibody

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Science Translational Medicine  29 Oct 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 260, pp. 260ra148
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009457

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Lighting Up Bladder Cancer Lesions

Molecular imaging of bladder cancer could greatly improve on current methods of diagnosis, which rely on white light–based imaging that looks for superficial tissue changes, such as color and texture. To this end, Pan et al. targeted the cancer-specific marker CD47 that is present on the surface of solid tumors, including in the bladder. The authors attached a brightly fluorescent tag, called a quantum dot, to a CD47 antibody. The fluorescent antibody was instilled into human bladders with muscle and nonmuscle invasive cancer that had been recently removed from patients. Overall, 119 bladder regions were analyzed using the fluorescent antibody and blue light cystoscopy. The authors reported a sensitivity of 82.9% and a specificity of 90.5%. They further correctly identified five of six carcinoma in situ lesions—a diagnostic challenge for white light imaging. Because this approach only requires topical administration of a fluorescent antibody and the use of already available clinical tools, it is hoped that this molecular imaging approach to diagnosing various bladder cancers will translate after further optimization.