Background: Rhenium-186 (186Re) has ideal properties for adjuvant radioimmunotherapy (RIT). However, the lack of suitable methods for high dose 186Re labeling of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) has hampered the use of 186Re in clinical RIT. After development of a chemically identical multistep procedure for the production of 186Re-MAG3-MAb and 99mTc/99Tc-MAG3-MAb conjugates for use as a matched pair, the authors now report on further progress to make this labeling method broadly applicable for high dose 186Re labeling.
Methods: The number of metal-MAG3 groups that can be coupled to a MAb without alteration of the biodistribution was investigated by radioimmunoscintigraphy (RIS) in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). For labeling with 500 mCi [186Re]ReO4-, an efficient chemoprotection was introduced to suppress the damaging effects of radiation during conjugation and conjugate purification. Furthermore, the authors developed strategies that make the procedure easy and safe to perform at any medical center.
Results: MAbs showed a minor variation in biodistribution in HNSCC patients when the number of metal-chelate groups per MAb varied between < 1 and 4.3. High dose 186Re-MAb conjugates (150-250 mCi) with a Re-MAG3:MAb ratio of 3.4 were obtained with a radiochemical purity of > 95% and minimal aggregate formation (< or = 6%). Furthermore, a semiautomated labeling device and a convenient 100 mCi labeling kit in the form of a dried 186Re-MAG3-TFP ester were developed. RIT studies in HNSCC-bearing nude mice showed that high dose 186Re-labeled MAb U36 is more effective than iodine-131-labeled MAb U36.
Conclusions: High dose 186Re-MAb conjugates were prepared that exhibit an optimal stability, immunoreactivity, and pharmacokinetic behavior. The availability of a kit procedure for coupling 186Re to MAbs might open the possibility of a broad application of 186Re in RIT.