Radioimmunotherapy for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2006;19(4):655-68. doi: 10.1016/j.beha.2006.05.002.


Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) combines the targeting advantage of a monoclonal antibody with the radiosensitivity of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cells. There are now two radioimmunoconjugates (RICs) - ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin) and tositumomab (Bexxar) - that are approved by the FDA in the US for relapsed low-grade or follicular B-cell NHL. Both agents target the CD20 antigen on B-cell lymphoma cells. In relapsed disease, single doses of RIT produce an 80% overall response rate, with approximately 20% of patients achieving durable responses. RIT is very well tolerated and is delivered on an outpatient basis over 1 week. The only significant toxicity is reversible myelosuppression. Both RIT agents have demonstrated high anti-tumor activity in patients who are refractory to rituximab. Current trials are testing RIT as initial therapy with rituximab maintenance, as adjuvant therapy after chemotherapy, or in high-dose protocols with stem-cell support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / immunology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Radioimmunotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes
  • ibritumomab tiuxetan
  • tositumomab I-131