The Society of Surgical Oncology, inc.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Intraoperative Tumor Detection Using a Ratiometric Activatable Fluorescent Peptide: A First-in-Human Phase 1 Study

Jonathan T. Unkart MD, MS, Steven L. Chen MD, MBA, Irene L. Wapnir MD, Jesús E. González PhD, Alec Harootunian PhD, Anne M. Wallace MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 24, Issue 11 / October , 2017



Positive surgical margins remain a significant challenge in breast cancer surgery. This report describes the use of a novel, first-in-human ratiometric activatable cell-penetrating peptide in breast cancer surgery.


A two-part, multi-institutional phase 1 trial of AVB-620 with a 3+3 dose escalation and dose-expansion cohorts was conducted. The patients received an infusion of AVB-620 2–20 h before planned lumpectomy/mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy/axillary dissection. Imaging analysis was performed on images obtained from the surgical field as well as post-excision surgical specimens. Pathology reports were obtained to correlate imaging results with histopathologic data. Information on physical adverse events and laboratory abnormalities were recorded.


A total of 27 patients received infusion of AVB-620 and underwent surgical excision of breast cancer. The findings showed no adverse events or laboratory values attributable to infusion of AVB-620. The 8-mg dose was selected from the dose-escalation cohort for use with the expansion cohort based on imaging data. Region-of-interest (ROI) imaging analysis from the 8-mg cohort demonstrated measurable changes between pathology confirmed tumor-positive and tumor-negative tissue.


Intraoperative imaging of surgical specimens after infusion with AVB-620 allowed for real-time tumor detection. Infusion of AVB-620 is safe and may improve intraoperative detection of malignant tissue during breast cancer operations.

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