Background and Purpose: Intratumour heterogeneity frequently leads to drug resistance, which is a major issue in drug discovery. Drug distribution is one of the key factors for elucidating the resistance mechanism; however, quantitative and regional drug measurement is challenging. Here, we developed a novel ultra-sensitive analytical method and applied it to HER3-targeting antibody–drug conjugate patritumab deruxtecan (HER3-DXd), aiming to explore its payload (DXd) distribution within heterogeneous tissues. Experimental Approach: The developed analytical method is named LDMS-CE-MS, a capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) coupled with a novel sample preconcentration/separation method called “large-volume dual-sample stacking by micelle collapse and sweeping (LDMS)”. First, the analytical performance of LDMS-CE-MS for DXd detection was evaluated. Subsequently, we evaluated the bystander effect of HER3-DXd, where tumour tissues were excised from xenograft models and clinical specimens after administration of HER3-DXd. HER3-high expression, adjacent, and HER3-low expression regions were then sampled by laser microdissection to quantify the released DXd. Key Results: LDMS concentrated DXd by 1000-fold and separated it from the hydrophilic bio-matrix through continuous capture and release by the charged micelles, allowing quantification at sub-attomole-level. DXd concentrations decreased in the order of antigen-high expression > adjacent > antigen-low expression regions in the tumour xenograft model, whereas in clinical specimens, adjacent and antigen-high expression regions had approximately the same concentration. These distributions represent a bystander effect. Conclusions and Implications: Our LDMS-CE-MS successfully visualized the attomole-level drug distributions in heterogeneous clinical specimens. This new platform opens a new era of quantitative pharmacokinetic analysis, facilitating drug discovery and development.
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