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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2016 Jan;43(1):21-33. doi: 10.1007/s00259-015-3150-2. Epub 2015 Aug 13.

Dosimetry of bone metastases in targeted radionuclide therapy with alpha-emitting (223)Ra-dichloride.

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Department of Medical Physics, Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini, Circonvallazione Gianicolense no. 87, 00152, Rome, Italy.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini, Circonvallazione Gianicolense no. 87, 00152, Rome, Italy.
Department of Radiological, Oncological and Anatomo Pathological Sciences, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico no. 155, 00161, Rome, Italy.
Postgraduate School of Medical Physics, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro no. 5, 00185, Rome, Italy.
Department of Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 291, 00161, Rome, Italy.
Department of Radiology, Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo Forlanini, Circonvallazione Gianicolense no. 87, 00152, Rome, Italy.



Ra-dichloride is an alpha-emitting radiopharmaceutical used in the treatment of bone metastases from castration-resistant prostate cancer. Image-based dosimetric studies remain challenging because the emitted photons are few. The aim of this study was to implement a methodology for in-vivo quantitative planar imaging, and to assess the absorbed dose to lesions using the MIRD approach.


The study included nine Caucasian patients with 24 lesions (6 humeral head lesions, 4 iliac wing lesions, 2 scapular lesions, 5 trochanter lesions, 3 vertebral lesions, 3 glenoid lesions, 1 coxofemoral lesion). The treatment consisted of six injections (one every 4 weeks) of 50 kBq per kg body weight. Gamma-camera calibrations for (223)Ra included measurements of sensitivity and transmission curves. Patients were statically imaged for 30 min, using an MEGP collimator, double-peak acquisition, and filtering to improve the image quality. Lesions were delineated on (99m)Tc-MDP whole-body images, and the ROIs superimposed on the (223)Ra images after image coregistration. The activity was quantified with background, attenuation, and scatter correction. Absorbed doses were assessed deriving the S values from the S factors for soft-tissue spheres of OLINDA/EXM, evaluating the lesion volumes by delineation on the CT images.


In 12 lesions with a wash-in phase the biokinetics were assumed to be biexponential, and to be monoexponential in the remainder. The optimal timing for serial acquisitions was between 1 and 5 h, between 18 and 24 h, between 48 and 60 h, and between 7 and 15 days. The error in cumulated activity neglecting the wash-in phase was between 2 % and 12 %. The mean effective half-life (T 1/2eff) of (223)Ra was 8.2 days (range 5.5-11.4 days). The absorbed dose (D) after the first injection was 0.7 Gy (range 0.2-1.9 Gy. Considering the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of alpha particles (RBE = 5), D RBE = 899 mGy/MBq (range 340-2,450 mGy/MBq). The percent uptake of (99m)Tc and (223)Ra (activity extrapolated to t = 0) were significantly correlated.


The feasibility of in vivo quantitative imaging in (223)Ra therapy was confirmed. The lesion uptake of (223)Ra-dichloride was significantly correlated with that of (99m)Tc-MDP. The D RBE to lesions per unit administered activity was much higher than that of other bone-seeking radiopharmaceuticals, but considering a standard administration of 21 MBq (six injections of 50 kBq/kg to a 70-kg patient), the mean cumulative value of D RBE was about 19 Gy, and was therefore in the range of those of other radiopharmaceuticals. The macrodosimetry of bone metastases in treatments with (223)Ra-dichloride is feasible, but more work is needed to demonstrate its helpfulness in predicting clinical outcomes.


223Ra-dichloride; Bone metastases; Dosimetry; Radionuclide therapy

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