Introduction: The integration of diagnostic testing for the presence of a molecular target is of interest to predict successful targeted radionuclide therapy (TRNT). This so-called 'theranostic' approach aims to improve personalized treatment based on the molecular characteristics of cancer cells. Moreover, it offers new insights in predicting adverse effects and provides appropriate tools to monitor therapy responses. Recent findings using nanobodies emphasize their potential as theranostic tools in cancer treatment. Nanobodies are recombinant, small antigen-binding fragments that are derived from camelid heavy-chain-only antibodies.
Areas covered: We review the current status of theranostic approaches in TRNT, with a focus on antibodies, peptides, scaffold proteins and emerging nanobodies. In recent years, nanobodies have been evaluated intensively for molecular imaging. In addition, novel data on TRNT using radiolabeled nanobodies for carcinomas and multiple myeloma highlight their promising opportunities in cancer treatment.
Expert opinion: We trust that radiolabeled nanobodies will have a future potential as theranostic tools in cancer therapy, both for diagnosis as well as for TRNT.
Keywords: cancer; nanobody; nuclear imaging; radiochemistry; radionuclide; targeted radionuclide therapy; theranostics.