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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42345. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042345. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Fractionated therapy of HER2-expressing breast and ovarian cancer xenografts in mice with targeted alpha emitting 227Th-DOTA-p-benzyl-trastuzumab.

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Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University, Hospital - The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



The aim of this study was to investigate therapeutic efficacy and normal tissue toxicity of single dosage and fractionated targeted alpha therapy (TAT) in mice with HER2-expressing breast and ovarian cancer xenografts using the low dose rate radioimmunoconjugate (227)Th-DOTA-p-benzyl-trastuzumab.


Nude mice carrying HER2-overexpressing subcutaneous SKOV-3 or SKBR-3 xenografts were treated with 1000 kBq/kg (227)Th-trastuzumab as single injection or four injections of 250 kBq/kg with intervals of 4-5 days, 2 weeks, or 4 weeks. Control animals were treated with normal saline or unlabeled trastuzumab. In SKOV-3 xenografts tumor growth to 10-fold size was delayed (p<0.01) and survival with tumor diameter less than 16 mm was prolonged (p<0.05) in all TAT groups compared to the control groups. No statistically significant differences were seen among the treated groups. In SKBR-3 xenografts tumor growth to 10-fold size was delayed in the single injection and 4-5 days interval groups (p<0.001) and all except the 4 weeks interval TAT group showed improved survival to the control groups (p<0.05). Toxicity was assessed by blood cell counts, clinical chemistry measurements and body weight. Transient reduction in white blood cells was seen for the single injection and 4-5 days interval groups (p<0.05). No significant changes were seen in red blood cells, platelets or clinical chemistry parameters. Survival without life threatening loss of body weight was significantly prolonged in 4 weeks interval group compared to single injection group (p<0.05) for SKOV-3 animals and in 2 weeks interval group compared with the 4-5 days interval groups (p<0.05) for SKBR-3 animals.


The same concentration of radioactivity split into several fractions may improve toxicity of (227)Th-radioimmunotherapy while the therapeutic effect is maintained. Thus, it might be possible to increase the cumulative absorbed radiation dose to tumor with acceptable toxicity by fractionation of the dosage.

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