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Publication of clinical data confirming uPAR as an attractive target for guiding surgery in head and neck cancer


August 22, 2022

Copenhagen, Denmark, 22 August 2022. FluoGuide A/S ("FluoGuide" or the “Company”) is pleased to announce a publication of clinical data that shows uPAR is highly expressed in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.
The article is published in ONCOLOGY REPORTS 48: 147, 2022:

The article documents the relevance of uPAR as target for guiding surgery of head and neck cancers relative to other molecular targets and was recently published online in the journal “Oncology reports” with the title “Expression patterns of uPAR, TF and EGFR and their potential as targets for molecular imaging in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma”. It presents the work lead by Dr. Anders Christensen, MD, PhD from Departments of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and Audiology at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma; OPSCC) the most frequent subtype of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, was evaluated from 93 patients to analyze which molecular targets were expressed with a focus on three targets of potential use for guidance of cancer surgery: Urokinase type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), tissue factor (TF) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

uPAR was expressed on 98.9% of the tumors from patient investigated whereas TF was only expressed in 76.3% of patients and although EGFR was expressed in 98.9% of patients it was also expressed on the normal tissue (mucosal epithelium and salivary gland tissues). It was also investigated if the target expression correlated to the prognosis of the patients (overall survival). uPAR expression was borderline statistically significant (p=0.07) compared to a p value for EGFR on 0.33 and TF on 0.42.

The authors of the article conclude: “In particular, uPAR may be an attractive target owing to their high positive expression rates in tumors and a highly tumor specific expression pattern.”

The presence of a ‘target’ on the surface of the cancer cells means that a fluorescent molecule binding to such target will bind to the cancer and light it up. The Company’s lead compound FG001 binds to uPAR and will light up cancer expressing uPAR. Therefore, the conclusion of the article strongly supports the idea of using FG001 in head and neck cancer.

Morten Albrechtsen, CEO says “The findings in the article underpin the significant clinical and commercial potential of the FluoGuide uPAR-targeting technology platform to guide surgical removal of cancer