[Radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies as anti-tumor missiles, their diagnostic success and therapeutic potential]

Bull Acad Natl Med. 1992 Jun;176(6):879-89.
[Article in French]


While it is now well accepted that radiolabeled antibodies can be useful for tumour detection by immunoscintigraphy, the use of larger doses of more aggressive radioisotopes coupled to antibodies for radioimmunotherapy is still in its infancy. At the experimental level, our group has shown that the intravenous injection of large doses of 131I labeled F(ab')2 fragments from monoclonal anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) antibodies can eradicate well established human colon carcinoma xenografts in nude mice. At the clinical level, in a dosimetry study performed at the Institut Gustave Roussy, the same anti-CEA monoclonal antibodies and fragments, labeled with subtherapeutic doses of 131I, were injected in patients with liver metastases from colorectal carcinomas. Direct measurement of radioactivity in surgically resected liver metastases and normal liver confirmed the specificity of tumour localization of the antibodies, but also showed that the calculated radiation doses which could be delivered by injections of 200 to 300 mCi of 131I labeled antibodies or fragments, remained fairly low, in the range of 1,500 to 3,000 rads. This is obviously insufficient for a single modality treatment. An alternative approach is to inject radiolabeled antibodies intra peritoneally to treat peritoneal carcinomatosis. Several clinical studies using this strategy are presently under evaluation and suggest that positive results can be obtained when the tumour diameters are very small. In systemic radioimmunotherapy, positive results have been obtained in more radiosensitive types of malignancies such as B cell lymphomas by intravenous injection of antibodies directed against B cell differentiation markers or against idiotypic antigens from each lymphoma, and labeled with 131I or 90Y. The major directions of research for improvement of radioimmunotherapy include the design of genetically engineered new forms of humanized antibodies, the synthesis of original chelates for coupling new radioisotopes to antibodies and the development of two step strategies for immunolocalization of radioisotopes.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal