Hematologic Side Effects of Radiolabeled Immunoglobulin Therapy

Exp Hematol. 1996 Aug;24(10):1183-90.


Radiolabeled immunoglobulin therapy (RIT) is a new cancer treatment that is more selective than its predecessors. Its dose-limiting normal tissue side effect is bone marrow toxicity, and hematopoietic stem cell damage appears to be its most significant mechanism. Platelet consumption in irradiated normal liver tissues and apoptosis of circulating peripheral blood lymphocytes are other, less important, hematologic side effects. 131I and 90Y are the radioisotopes most commonly used for RIT; in addition, animal toxicology and initial clinical studies of chelate immunoglobulins radiolabeled with 111In (for diagnosis) or 90Y (for therapy) are reviewed. The bone-seeking properties of free 90Y are not considered to be a major component of the hematologic damage caused by yttrium-labeled immunoglobulins. The microenvironment of the bone marrow system is not significantly damaged by current RIT protocols. Moreover, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) can open the blood-marrow barrier. Bone marrow toxicity after RIT can be corrected by bone marrow transplantation, growth factors, blood products, or fractionation of RIT. Selection of the appropriate corrective regimen depends on the severity of the bone marrow damage and will further enhance the therapeutic ratio of RIT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / radiation effects
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Bone Marrow / radiation effects
  • Granulocytes / radiation effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins*
  • Indium Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiography
  • Radioimmunodetection / adverse effects*
  • Radioimmunotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes