Background: Large differences in uptake between tumors, even for the same size, frequently observed in clinical and experimental radioimmunotherapy (RAIT), make monitoring of uptake in individual tumors imperative in comparing protocols. 90Y, widely-used for RAIT, emits no gamma radiation and absorption of the beta particle in tissue makes its detection unsuitable for in vivo monitoring. We tested whether bremsstrahlung radiation, produced when betas are decelerated by nuclei, could be used to monitor tumor uptake.
Methods: Subcutaneous human LS174T colon carcinoma tumors were grown in the upper thigh of nude mice and labeled antibody injected intracardially. With the tumor placed in the 2 cm-diameter aperture in a lead collimator, photons with energies from 100 to 200 keV transmitted through plastic, which absorbed the beta particles, were counted to maximize shielding from the rest of the body. The contribution of the normal tissues was subtracted by counting the non-tumor-bearing leg in the same position. Excretion was calculated from whole body activity determined by removing the collimator, placing the mouse in a syringe surrounded by tissue-equivalent material 10 cm from the detector, and counting photons between 200 and 740 keV to minimize the effect of tissue attenuation.
Results: For tumors larger than 0.14 gm, a good correlation was obtained between the in vivo bremsstrahlung measurements and the measurements on excised tumors in a calibrated well counter. Similar excretion rates observed in all the animals suggested that the whole body counting was accurate.
Conclusions: Bremstrahlung detection appears feasible and reliable for monitoring both tumor and whole body activities.