Clinical radioimmunotherapy--the role of radiobiology

Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2011 Nov 8;8(12):720-34. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2011.160.


Conventional external-beam radiation therapy is dedicated to the treatment of localized disease, whereas radioimmunotherapy represents an innovative tool for the treatment of local or diffuse tumors. Radioimmunotherapy involves the administration of radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies that are directed specifically against tumor-associated antigens or against the tumor microenvironment. Although many tumor-associated antigens have been identified as possible targets for radioimmunotherapy of patients with hematological or solid tumors, clinical success has so far been achieved mostly with radiolabeled antibodies against CD20 ((131)I-tositumomab and (90)Y-ibritumomab tiuxetan) for the treatment of lymphoma. In this Review, we provide an update on the current challenges aimed to improve the efficacy of radioimmunotherapy and discuss the main radiobiological issues associated with clinical radioimmunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiobiology
  • Radioimmunotherapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm