Background: Conjugation to clinical-grade tumor penetrating iRGD peptide is a widely
used strategy to improve tumor homing, extravasation, and penetration of cancer drugs and tumor
imaging agents. The C domain of the extracellular matrix molecule Tenascin-C (TNC-C) is upregulated
in solid tumors and represents an attractive target for clinical-grade single-chain antibody-
based vehicles for tumor delivery drugs and imaging agents.
Objective: To study the effect of C-terminal genetic fusion of the iRGD peptide to recombinant anti-
TNC-C single-chain antibody clone G11 on systemic tumor homing and extravasation.
Methods: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to study the interaction of parental and
iRGD-fused anti-TNC-C single-chain antibodies with C domain of tenascin-C and αVβ3 integrins.
For systemic homing studies, fluorescein-labeled ScFV G11-iRGD and ScFV G11 antibodies were
administered in U87-MG glioblastoma xenograft mice, and their biodistribution was studied by
confocal imaging of tissue sections stained with markers of blood vessels and Tenascin C immunoreactivity.
Results: In a cell-free system, iRGD fusion to ScFV G11 conferred the antibody has a robust ability
to bind αVβ3 integrins. The fluorescein labeling of ScFV G11-iRGD did not affect its target
binding activity. In U87-MG mice, iRGD fusion to ScFV G11 antibodies improved their homing to
tumor blood vessels, extravasation, and penetration of tumor parenchyma.
Conclusion: The genetic fusion of iRGD tumor penetrating peptide to non-internalizing affinity targeting
ligands may improve their tumor tropism and parenchymal penetration for more efficient delivery
of imaging and therapeutic agents into solid tumor lesions.