Xiaojuan Zhao, Qingfeng Huang, Marjory Koller, Matthijs D. Linssen, Wouter T. R. Hooghiemstra, Steven J. de Jongh, Marcel A. T. M. van Vugt, Rudolf S. N. Fehrmann, Enmin Li, Wouter B. Nagengast.
Dysplasia and intramucosal esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) frequently go unnoticed with white-light endoscopy and, therefore, progress to invasive tumors. If suitable targets are available, fluorescence molecular endoscopy might be promising to improve early detection. Microarray expression data of patient-derived normal esophagus (n = 120) and ESCC samples (n = 118) were analyzed by functional genomic mRNA (FGmRNA) profiling to predict target upregulation on protein levels. The predicted top 60 upregulated genes were prioritized based on literature and immunohistochemistry (IHC) validation to select the most promising targets for fluorescent imaging. By IHC, GLUT1 showed significantly higher expression in ESCC tissue (30 patients) compared to the normal esophagus adjacent to the tumor (27 patients) (p < 0.001). Ex vivo imaging of GLUT1 with the 2-DG 800CW tracer showed that the mean fluorescence intensity in ESCC (n = 17) and high-grade dysplasia (HGD, n = 13) is higher (p < 0.05) compared to that in low-grade dysplasia (LGD) (n = 7) and to the normal esophagus adjacent to the tumor (n = 5). The sensitivity and specificity of 2-DG 800CW to detect HGD and ESCC is 80% and 83%, respectively (ROC = 0.85). We identified and validated GLUT1 as a promising molecular imaging target and demonstrated that fluorescent imaging after topical application of 2-DG 800CW can differentiate HGD and ESCC from LGD and normal esophagus.