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Eschbach, Ralf S.; Kazmierczak, Philipp M.; Heimer, Maurice M.; Todica, Andrei; Hirner-Eppeneder, Heidrun; Schneider, Moritz J.; Keinrath, Georg; Solyanik, Olga; Olivier, Jessica; Kunz, Wolfgang G.; Reiser, Maximilian F.; Bartenstein, Peter; Ricke, Jens; Cyran, Clemens C. (2018): 18F–FDG-PET/CT and diffusion-weighted MRI for monitoring a BRAF and CDK 4/6 inhibitor combination therapy in a murine model of human melanoma. In: Cancer Imaging 18:2
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Abstract

Background: The purpose of the study was to investigate a novel BRAF and CDK 4/6 inhibitor combination therapy in a murine model of BRAF-V600-mutant human melanoma monitored by F-18-FDG-PET/CT and diffusionweighted MRI (DW-MRI). Methods: Human BRAF-V600-mutant melanoma (A375) xenograft-bearing balb/c nude mice (n = 21) were imaged by 18F-FDG-PET/CT and DW-MRI before (day 0) and after (day 7) a 1-week BRAF and CDK 4/6 inhibitor combination therapy (n = 12;dabrafenib, 20 mg/kg/d;ribociclib, 100 mg/kg/d) or placebo (n = 9). Animals were scanned on a small animal PET after intravenous administration of 20 MBq F-18-FDG. Tumor glucose uptake was calculated as the tumor-to-liver-ratio (TTL). Unenhanced CT data sets were subsequently acquired for anatomic coregistration. Tumor diffusivity was assessed by DW-MRI using the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). Anti-tumor therapy effects were assessed by ex vivo immunohistochemistry for validation purposes (microvascular density -CD31;tumor cell proliferation -Ki-67). Results: Tumor glucose uptake was significantly suppressed under therapy (Delta TTLTherapy -1.00 +/- 0.53 vs.Delta TTLControl 0.85 +/- 1.21;p < 0.001). In addition, tumor diffusivity was significantly elevated following the BRAF and CDK 4/6 inhibitor combination therapy (Delta ADC(Therapy) 0.12 +/- 0.14 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s;Delta ADCControl -0.12 +/- 0.06 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s;p < 0.001). Immunohistochemistry revealed a significant suppression of microvascular density (CD31, 147 +/- 48 vs. 287 +/- 92;p = 0.001) and proliferation (Ki-67, 3718 +/- 998 vs. 5389 +/- 1332;p = 0.007) in the therapy compared to the control group. Conclusion: A novel BRAF and CDK 4/6 inhibitor combination therapy exhibited significant anti-angiogenic and anti-proliferative effects in experimental human melanomas, monitored by F-18-FDG-PET/CT and DW-MRI.