Current and potential therapeutic uses of lanthanide radioisotopes

Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2000 Dec;15(6):531-45. doi: 10.1089/cbr.2000.15.531.


In the last 25 years, diagnostic nuclear medicine has come to depend on the versatile chemistry of a single radioisotope, technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Different chelating molecules can be used to guide Tc-99m through various physiological pathways in the body to gain information about disease states. No single radioisotope similarly dominates therapeutic applications. In the field of radioisotope therapy, much discussion and debate have focused on what radioisotope might be "ideal" for treatment of malignant tumors. The ideal may not be a single radioisotope, but rather the class of very closely related radiolanthanides and lanthanide-like radioisotopes. These radioisotopes possess strikingly similar chemistries and thus all may be conjugated to biomolecules using a single chelate, the DOTA moiety (and its chemical analogs). They also provide a wide range of physical characteristics, such as half-lives and beta energies, that can be chosen to match the biological properties of the conjugated biomolecule and the malignant tumor. Thus, the radiolanthanide-DOTA bioconjugate model provides a set of physically diverse, but chemically very similar, therapeutic radiopharmaceutical agents, the individual members of which can be tailored to treat specific types of cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Particles
  • Beta Particles
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 1-Ring / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Metals, Rare Earth / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Peptide Fragments / therapeutic use
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / therapeutic use
  • Technetium / therapeutic use


  • Chelating Agents
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 1-Ring
  • Metals, Rare Earth
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane- 1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid
  • Technetium