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Cancer Res. 1992 Nov 1;52(21):6036-44.

Targeted therapy of athymic mice bearing GW-39 human colonic cancer micrometastases with 131I-labeled monoclonal antibodies.

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  • 1Garden State Cancer Center, Newark, New Jersey 07103.


The therapeutic potential of radiolabeled antibodies is usually evaluated in experimental animal models bearing s.c. xenografts. We have established a micrometastatic model of the GW-39 human colonic carcinoma in the nude mouse lung (J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 83: 627-632, 1991) and presented preliminary findings on the efficacy of a 131I-anticarcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) antibody in this model. We now extend our observations on the use of radioiodinated labeled monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to treat multiple small tumor nodules. Biodistribution and dosimetry analysis was performed for intact and F(ab')2 of NP-4 anti-CEA IgG, Mu-9 anti-colon-specific antigen IgG, isotype-matched irrelevant anti-AFP IgG, and intact MAb 34A anti-lung endothelial IgG antibody. Comparisons were made for rad dose delivered to small s.c. tumors, normal lung, lung with tumor nodules, and isolated tumor nodules. Survival curves were generated for tumor-bearing animals treated 1, 7, or 14 days after tumor cell implantation with these antibodies using the maximal tolerated dose for intact antibodies (275 microCi) and for F(ab')2 fragments (1.2 mCi). The studies established the following observations: (a) in contrast to previous results in a bulky tumor model in hamsters, intact antibodies are more therapeutic than MAb fragments for both NP-4 and Mu-9; (b) tumor nodule size, even on the microscopic level, affects therapeutic outcome; antibodies were more effective when administered 7 days postimplantation (mean nodule diameter, 150 microns) compared with treatment 14 days postimplantation (mean nodule diameter, 750 microns); (c) administration of radioiodinated Mu-9 was exquisitely effective on single avascular tumor cells that had seeded in lung; irrelevant antibody was minimally radiotoxic; (d) as in the bulky disease model, the anti-colon-specific antigen p antibody delivers a higher rad dose than the anti-CEA antibody and is significantly more therapeutic in the micrometastasis model; (e) a higher affinity anti-CEA antibody (MN-14) recognizing the same epitope on CEA as NP-4 was equally therapeutic; (f) the use of MAb directed against the lung endothelium was not as therapeutic as a tumor-associated antibody; and (g) all tumor-associated antibodies were more efficacious than administration of the maximal tolerated dose of 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin in this human tumor-xenograft model. These results provide further support for the use of radioimmunotherapy in the handling of minimal disease, probably as part of an adjuvant treatment regimen.

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