Radioimmunotherapy of solid tumors: searching for the right target

Curr Drug Deliv. 2011 Jan;8(1):26-44. doi: 10.2174/156720111793663651.


Radioimmunotherapy of solid tumors remains a challenge despite the tremendous success of ⁹⁰Y ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin) and ¹³¹I Tositumomab (Bexxar) in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. For a variety of reasons, clinical trials of radiolabeled antibodies against solid tumors have not led to responses equivalent to those seen against lymphoma. In contrast, promising responses have been observed with unlabeled antibodies that target solid tumor receptors associated with cellular signaling pathways. These observations suggest that anti-tumor efficacy of the carrier antibody might be critical to achieving clinical responses. Here, we review and compare tumor antigens targeted by radiolabeled antibodies and unlabeled antibodies used in immunotherapy. The review shows that the trend for radiolabeled antibodies under pre-clinical development is to also target antigens associated with signaling pathways that are essential for the growth and survival of the tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radioimmunotherapy / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / immunology
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Radiopharmaceuticals