PURPOSE: Despite optimal local therapy, tumor cell invasion into normal brain parenchyma frequently results in recurrence in patients with solid tumors. The aim of this study was to determine whether microvascular inflammation can be targeted to better delineate the tumor-brain interface through vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)-targeted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). METHODS: Intracerebral xenograft rat models of MDA231Br-GFP (breast cancer) brain metastasis and U87MG (glioblastoma) were used to histologically examine the tumor-brain interface and to test the efficacy of VCAM-1-targeted MRI in detecting this region. Human biopsy samples of the brain metastasis and glioblastoma margins were examined for endothelial VCAM-1 expression. RESULTS: The interface between tumor and surrounding normal brain tissue exhibited elevated endothelial VCAM-1 expression and increased microvessel density. Tumor proliferation and stemness markers were also significantly upregulated at the tumor rim in the brain metastasis model. T2*-weighted MRI, following intravenous administration of VCAM-MPIO, highlighted the tumor-brain interface of both tumor models more extensively than gadolinium-DTPA-enhanced T1-weighted MRI. Sites of VCAM-MPIO binding, evident as hypointense signals on MR images, correlated spatially with endothelial VCAM-1 upregulation and bound VCAM-MPIO beads detected histologically. These findings were further validated in an orthotopic medulloblastoma model. Finally, the tumor-brain interface in human brain metastasis and glioblastoma samples was similarly characterized by microvascular inflammation, extending beyond the region detectable using conventional MRI. CONCLUSION: This work illustrates the potential of VCAM-1 targeted MRI for improved delineation of the tumor-brain interface in both primary and secondary brain tumors.
Clin Cancer Res