Improved Tumor Responses with Sequential Targeted α-Particles Followed by Interleukin 2 Immunocytokine Therapies in Treatment of CEA-Positive Breast and Colon Tumors in CEA Transgenic Mice

J Nucl Med. 2022 Dec;63(12):1859-1864. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.122.264126. Epub 2022 Jun 30.


Targeted α-therapy (TAT) delivers high-linear-transfer-energy α-particles to tumors with the potential to generate tumor immune responses that may be augmented by antigen-targeted immunotherapy. Methods: This concept was evaluated in immunocompetent carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) transgenic mice bearing CEA-positive mammary or colon tumors. Tumors were targeted with humanized anti-CEA antibody M5A labeled with 225Ac for its 10-d half-life and emission of 4 α-particles, as well as being targeted with the immunocytokine M5A-interleukin 2. Results: A dose response (3.7, 7.4, and 11.1 kBq) to TAT only, for orthotopic CEA-positive mammary tumors, was observed, with a tumor growth delay of 30 d and an increase in median survival from 20 to 36 d at the highest dose. Immunocytokine (4 times daily) monotherapy gave a tumor growth delay of 20 d that was not improved by addition of 7.4 kBq of TAT 5 d after the start of immunocytokine. However, TAT (7.4 kBq) followed by immunocytokine 10 d later led to a tumor growth delay of 38 d, with an increase in median survival to 45 d. Similar results were seen for TAT followed by immunocytokine at 5 versus 10 d. When a similar study was performed with subcutaneously implanted CEA-positive MC38 colon tumors, TAT (7.4 kBq) monotherapy gave an increase in median survival from 29 to 42 d. The addition of immunocytokine 10 d after 7.4 kBq of TAT increased median survival to 57 d. Immunophenotyping showed increased tumor-infiltrating interferon-γ-positive, CD8-positive T cells and an increased ratio of these cells to Foxp3-positive, CD4-positive regulatory T cells with sequential therapy. Immunohistochemistry confirmed there was an increase in tumor-infiltrating CD8-positive T cells in the sequential therapy group, strongly suggesting that immunocytokine augmented TAT can lead to an immune response that improves tumor therapy. Conclusion: Low-dose (7.4 kBq) TAT followed by a 4-dose immunocytokine regimen 5 or 10 d later gave superior tumor reductions and survival curves compared with either monotherapy in breast and colon cancer tumor models. Reversing the order of therapy to immunocytokine followed by TAT 5 d later was equivalent to either monotherapy in the breast cancer model.

Keywords: breast cancer; carcinoembryonic antigen; colon cancer; radionuclide therapy; targeted alpha therapy; targeted immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen*
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-2
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Interleukin-2