Preclinical study of 212Pb alpha-radioimmunotherapy targeting CD20 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Br J Cancer. 2021 Dec;125(12):1657-1665. doi: 10.1038/s41416-021-01585-6. Epub 2021 Oct 20.


Background: Despite therapeutic advances, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) relapses can occur. The development of radioimmunotherapy (RIT) with α-emitters is an attractive alternative. In this study, we investigated the potential of α-RIT in conjunction with 212Pb-rituximab for the treatment of NHL.

Methods: EL4-hCD20-Luc cells (mouse lymphoma cell line) were used for in vitro and in vivo studies. Biodistribution and efficacy studies were performed on C57BL/6 mice injected intravenously with 25 × 103 cells.

Results: 212Pb-rituximab (0.925-7.4 kBq/mL) inhibit proliferation of EL4-hCD20-Luc cells in vitro. Biodistribution of 203/212Pb-rituximab in mice showed a significant tumour uptake and suggested that the liver, spleen, and kidneys were the organs at risk. For efficacy studies, mice were treated at either 11 days (early stage) or 20-30 days after injection of tumour cells (late stage). Treatment with 277.5 kBq 212Pb-rituximab significantly prolonged survival. Even at an advanced tumour stage, significant tumour regression occurred, with an increase in the median survival time to 28 days, compared with 9 days in the controls.

Conclusions: These results show the efficacy of 212Pb-rituximab in a murine syngeneic lymphoma model, in terms of significant tumour regression and increased survival, thereby highlighting the potency of α-RIT for the treatment of NHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Lead / pharmacology
  • Lead / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Radioimmunotherapy / methods*


  • Antigens, CD20
  • Lead