3D Imaging Detection of HER2 Based in the Use of Novel Affibody-Quantum Dots Probes and Ratiometric Analysis uri icon


  • © 2018 The Authors Patients with breast cancer (BC) overexpressing HER2 (HER2+) are selected for Trastuzumab treatment, which blocks HER2 and improves cancer prognosis. However, HER2+ diagnosis, by the gold standard, immunohistochemistry, could lead to errors, associated to: a) variability in sample manipulation (thin 2D sections), b) use of subjective algorithms, and c) heterogeneity of HER2 expression within the tissue. Therefore, we explored HER2 3D detection by multiplexed imaging of Affibody-Quantum Dots conjugates (Aff-QD), ratiometric analysis (RMAFI) and thresholding, using BC multicellular tumor spheroids (BC-MTS) (~120 ¿m of diameter) as 3D model of BC. HER2+, HER2¿ and hybrid HER2+/¿ BC-MTS (mimicking heterogeneous tissue) were incubated simultaneously with two Aff-QD probes (anti-HER2 and negative control (NC), respectively, (1:1)). Confocal XY sections were recorded along the Z distance, and processed by automatized RMAFI (anti-HER2 Aff-QD/ NC). Quantifying the NC fluorescence allowed to predict the fraction of non-specific accumulation of the anti-HER2 probe within the thick sample, and resolve the specific HER2 level. HER2 was detected up to 30 ¿m within intact BC-MTS, however, permeabilization improved detection up to 70 ¿m. Specific HER2 signal was objectively quantified, and HER2 3D-density of 9.2, 48.3 and 30.8% were obtained in HER2¿ HER2+ and hybrid HER2+/¿ permeabilized BC-MTS, respectively. Therefore, by combining the multiplexing capacity of Aff-QD probes and RMAFI, we overcame the challenge of non-specific probe accumulation in 3D samples with minimal processing, yielding a fast, specific spatial HER2 detection and objective quantification.

Publication date

  • June 1, 2018