Radiopharmaceutical chemistry of targeted radiotherapeutics, part 1: effects of solvent on the degradation of radiohalogenation precursors by 211At alpha-particles

J Nucl Med. 2005 Apr;46(4):700-6.


The high energy and short range of alpha-particles make them attractive for targeted radiotherapy. However, these properties can be problematic when the production of high activity levels of alpha-particle-emitting radiotherapeutics is required. For example, difficulties were encountered in the production of N-succinimidyl 3-[211At]-astatobenzoate (SAB), when 370-MBq doses of 211At-labeled antibody were required. The purpose of this study was to investigate a potential cause of this behavior--radiolytic degradation of the radiohalogenation precursor.

Methods: Both N-succinimidyl 3-(tri-n-butylstannyl)benzoate (BuSTB) and N-succinimidyl 3-trimethylstannylbenzoate (MeSTB) were incubated with various 211At time-activity combinations such that the radiation dose received by the reaction medium ranged from about 0 to 20,000 Gy. Studies were performed using chloroform, methanol, and benzene as the solvent, and both at neutral pH and at a pH of approximately 5.5, as used in SAB synthesis. The fraction of tin precursor remaining and the generation of unlabeled byproducts were determined from high-performance liquid chromatograms and then plotted against radiation dose.

Results: Extensive radiolytic decomposition of BuSTB and MeSTB was observed in chloroform, with 50% degradation taking place even at doses below 500 Gy. Formation of a byproduct, most likely N-succinimidyl 3-chlorobenzoate, increased with radiation dose. A greater degree of stability was seen in both methanol and benzene, with more than 85% of the precursor remaining at 3,500 Gy. No cold byproducts were observed with either solvent.

Conclusion: The nature of the solvent profoundly influences the ability to synthesize high activity levels of SAB and possibly other 211At-labeled radiopharmaceuticals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Particles*
  • Astatine / chemistry*
  • Halogens / chemistry*
  • Radioimmunotherapy / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry*


  • Halogens
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Solvents
  • Astatine