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Radiat Res. 1992 May;130(2):220-6.

Cellular kinetics, dosimetry, and radiobiology of alpha-particle radioimmunotherapy: induction of apoptosis.

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Joint Center for Radiation Therapy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Though clinical results for radioimmunoconjugate therapy of most common epithelial tumors have been disappointing, dramatic responses have been observed repeatedly in the treatment of high- and low-grade malignant lymphomas. This high clinical responsiveness after radioimmunoconjugate therapy sometimes appears to be out of proportion to the calculated radiation dose absorbed by the lymphoma tissue. Here we describe some key aspects of the kinetics, dosimetry, and cellular radiobiology of murine lymphoma cells exposed to 212Bi-radiolabeled alpha-particle-emitting immunoconjugates specific for the differentiation antigen Thy 1.2. Approximately 25 cell-bound alpha-particle-emitting immunoconjugates per target cell were required to reduce clonogenic survival by 90% (the radiobiological D10). Serial kinetic analyses of the antibody and radioisotope components of the immunoconjugates revealed significant levels of dechelation and up to 7.5% cellular internalization of the isotope. Cellular radiation dosimetry performed by Monte Carlo computer simulation of alpha-particle energy deposition patterns based on the observed radiopharmacokinetics showed that the D10 resulted from approximately four alpha-particle traversals through the nucleus, corresponding to an absorbed radiation dose of approximately 0.95 Gy to the cell nucleus. Electron micrographs and DNA gel studies of murine lymphoma cells undergoing radioimmunoconjugate therapy in vivo and in vitro demonstrated bizarre blebbing patterns, condensation of chromosomal material, and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation patterns characteristic of programmed cell death (apoptosis). We conjecture that the efficacy of radioimmunoconjugates against responsive cell types may be the result of passive DNA damage by ionizing radiation and the initiation of apoptosis in response to radioimmunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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