Serum albumin (SA) accumulation by bronchogenic tumours: a tracer technique may help with patient selection for SA-delivered chemotherapy

Eur J Nucl Med. 1995 Sep;22(9):989-96. doi: 10.1007/BF00808409.


Systemic toxicity and inadequate tumour uptake of chemotherapeutic agents limit effective therapy of disseminated malignant disease. We seek to use macromolecules for improved delivery of therapeutic agents to tumours, and hope to use radiotracer procedures to identify those malignancies able to accumulate the transport molecule. A literature search identified in vitro and animal experimental data which indicated that serum albumin is taken up in malignancies. Selected cytostatic drugs can be bound to albumin, which suggests the suitability of the molecule as a potential transport vehicle. We therefore evaluated indium-111 labelled human serum albumin (HSA) to determine the frequency of its accumulation in bronchogenic tumours. Single-photon emission tomographic (SPET) images were obtained in 23 patients 48 h after intravenous injection of 1.5 mCi 111In diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid (DTPA)-HSA. SPET imaging with technetium-99m labelled erythrocytes was included in the protocol to assess the influence which vascularity has on the HSA-based images. All patients went on to surgery. We documented the histological diagnosis, T-stage and differentiation grade. The scintigraphic examination demonstrated HSA uptake in three squamous cell carcinomas and four adenocarcinomas. Of these, six malignancies accumulating HSA had 2.2-5.4 times, the tracer concentrations observed in comparable background regions. Small cell carcinoma failed to accumulate the labelled HSA during the 2-day scintigraphic evaluation. The HSA images did not appear to represent tumour vascularity. T-stage and differentiation grade failed to predict which tumours would demonstrate HSA uptake.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / drug therapy*
  • Erythrocytes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indium Radioisotopes*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentetic Acid*
  • Serum Albumin / therapeutic use*
  • Technetium
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Serum Albumin
  • methotrexate-serum albumin
  • Technetium
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Methotrexate