Personalisation of Molecular Radiotherapy through Optimisation of Theragnostics

J Pers Med. 2020 Oct 16;10(4):174. doi: 10.3390/jpm10040174.


Molecular radiotherapy, or targeted radionuclide therapy, uses systemically administered drugs bearing a suitable radioactive isotope, typically a beta emitter. These are delivered via metabolic or other physiological pathways to cancer cells in greater concentrations than to normal tissues. The absorbed radiation dose in tumour deposits causes chromosomal damage and cell death. A partner radiopharmaceutical, most commonly the same vector labelled with a different radioactive atom, with emissions suitable for gamma camera or positron emission tomography imaging, is used to select patients for treatment and to assess response. The use of these pairs of radio-labelled drugs, one optimised for therapy, the other for diagnostic purposes, is referred to as theragnostics. Theragnostics is increasingly moving away from a fixed number of defined activity administrations, to a much more individualised or personalised approach, with the aim of improving treatment outcomes, and minimising toxicity. There is, however, still significant scope for further progress in that direction. The main tools for personalisation are the following: imaging biomarkers for better patient selection; predictive and post-therapy dosimetry to maximise the radiation dose to the tumour while keeping organs at risk within tolerance limits; imaging for assessment of treatment response; individualised decision making and communication about radiation protection, adjustments for toxicity, inpatient and outpatient care.

Keywords: dosimetry; imaging biomarkers; molecular radiotherapy; organs at risk; personalised dose administration; radionuclide therapy; response assessment; theragnostics.

Publication types

  • Review