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Q J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2006 Dec;50(4):265-71.

Practical aspects of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy with [177Lu][DOTA0, Tyr3]octreotate.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Lutetium-177 is increasingly used in patients for receptor-targeted radionuclide therapy with peptides such as [DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate. In our therapy facility, we are performing yearly 400 treatments with each 7.4 GBq [177Lu][DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate. Finger dosimetry data during radiolabeling reveal higher doses on the right hands of right-handed workers with the highest equivalent dose for the middle finger (53+/-12 microSv/GBq). Extrapolating dosimetry data, assuming 400 doses of 7.4 GBq per year performed by 4 workers, result in a mean equivalent dose of 23+/-11 mSv and 14+/-6 mSv for finger top and ring dose, respectively. Preparation of 400 doses will result in an effective dose of 0.5-1.5 mSv per year for these 4 workers. The extra radiation dose for workers during the radiolabeling of these doses thus remains below 10% of the legal annual limits, which is in accordance with the ALARA optimization principle. Based on measurements of the maximal radiation level at 1 m distance (7.5+/-3.6 microSv/h), patients treated with 7.4 GBq [177Lu][DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate can already leave the therapy facility the next day. As radioactive waste streams are based on the half-lives of the used radionuclides, 177Lu-waste (t1/2=6.7 d) was initially collected along with the 131I-waste (t1/2=8 d). According to both manufacturers' specifications, 177Lu contains less than 0.4 kBq 177mLu/MBq 177Lu (at the end of neutron irradiation), when produced by the [176Lu n, gamma 177Lu] reaction via thermal neutron bombardment of enriched lutetium oxide. Unfortunately, because of the huge amounts of 177Lu used, contaminating 177mLu turned out to prevent the quick discharge of this waste, for some containers even after some years of storage. Therefore, a technique for calibrating 177mLu was developed, simultaneously confirming the manufacturer's specifications on the presence of 177mLu in 177Lu. Subsequently a reliable technique was developed to measure 177mLu in waste containers using a beta/gamma-contamination monitor. It is advised to collect 177mLu/177Lu-waste and certainly high-activity lutetium waste separated from 131I according the regulations in the country of use. Apart from the mentioned waste, excreta from patients are collected in decay tanks, where they are stored for 1-2 months before they are discarded into the general sewer within the overall tolerated discharge limit (150 radiotoxicity equivalents/year for our department).

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