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EJNMMI Res. 2011 Aug 24;1(1):18. doi: 10.1186/2191-219X-1-18.

Experimental α-particle radioimmunotherapy of breast cancer using 227Th-labeled p-benzyl-DOTA-trastuzumab.

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Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Montebello, 0310 Oslo, Norway.



The aim of the present study was to explore the biodistribution, normal tissue toxicity, and therapeutic efficacy of the internalizing low-dose rate alpha-particle-emitting radioimmunoconjugate 227Th-trastuzumab in mice with HER2-expressing breast cancer xenografts.


Biodistribution of 227Th-trastuzumab and 227Th-rituximab in nude mice bearing SKBR-3 xenografts were determined at different time points after injection. Tumor growth was measured after administration of 227Th-trastuzumab, 227Th-rituximab, cold trastuzumab, and saline. The toxicity of 227Th-trastuzumab was evaluated by measurements of body weight, blood cell, and clinical chemistry parameters, as well as histological examination of tissue specimens.


The tumor uptake reached peak levels of 34% ID/g (4.6 kBq/g) 3 days after injection of 400 kBq/kg of 227Th-trastuzumab. The absorbed radiation dose to tumor was 2.9 Gy, while it was 2.4 Gy to femur due to uptake of the daughter nuclide 223Ra in bone; the latter already explored in clinical phases I and II trials without serious toxicity. A significant dose-dependent antitumor effect was observed for dosages of 200, 400, and 600 kBq/kg of 227Th-trastuzumab but no effect of 400 and 600 kBq/kg 227Th-rituximab (non-tumor binding). No serious delayed bone marrow or normal organ toxicity was observed, but there was a statistical significant reduction in blood cell parameters for the highest-dose group of 227Th-trastuzumab treatment.


Internalizing 227Th-trastuzumab therapy was well tolerated and resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of breast cancer xenograft growth. These results warrant further preclinical studies aiming at a clinical trial in breast cancer patients with metastases to bone.

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