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EJNMMI Res. 2020 Feb 11;10(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s13550-020-0600-z.

Targeted alpha therapy with astatine-211-labeled anti-PSCA A11 minibody shows antitumor efficacy in prostate cancer xenografts and bone microtumors.

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Department of Radiation Physics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gula stråket 2B SE-413 45, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Urology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Cancer Center, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Bioscience Cardiovascular, Early Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Radiation Physics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gula stråket 2B SE-413 45, Gothenburg, Sweden.
PET and Cyclotron Unit, KF-3982, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA.
Department of Oncology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region Västra Götaland, Gothenburg, Sweden.



Targeted alpha therapy (TAT) is a promising treatment for micrometastatic and minimal residual cancer. We evaluated systemic α-radioimmunotherapy (α-RIT) of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) using the α-particle emitter 211At-labeled to the anti-PSCA A11 minibody. A11 is specific for prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA), a cell surface glycoprotein which is overexpressed in more than 90% of both localized prostate cancer and bone metastases.


PC3-PSCA cells were implanted subcutaneously (s.c.) and intratibially (i.t) in nude mice. Efficacy of α-RIT (two fractions-14-day interval) was studied on s.c. macrotumors (0, 1.5 and 1.9 MBq) and on i.t. microtumors (~100-200 μm; 0, 0.8 or 1.5 MBq) by tumor-volume measurements. The injected activities for therapies were estimated from separate biodistribution and myelotoxicity studies.


Tumor targeting of 211At-A11 was efficient and the effect on s.c. macrotumors was strong and dose-dependent. At 6 weeks, the mean tumor volumes for the treated groups, compared with controls, were reduced by approximately 85%. The separate myelotoxicity study following one single fraction showed reduced white blood cells (WBC) for all treated groups on day 6 after treatment. For the 0.8 and 1.5 MBq, the WBC reductions were transient and followed by recovery at day 13. For 2.4 MBq, a clear toxicity was observed and the mice were sacrificed on day 7. In the long-term follow-up of the 0.8 and 1.5 MBq-groups, blood counts on day 252 were normal and no signs of radiotoxicity observed. Efficacy on i.t. microtumors was evaluated in two experiments. In experiment 1, the tumor-free fraction (TFF) was 95% for both treated groups and significantly different (p < 0.05) from the controls at a TFF of 66%). In experiment 2, the difference in TFF was smaller, 32% for the treated group versus 20% for the controls. However, the difference in microtumor volume in experiment 2 was highly significant, 0.010 ± 0.003 mm3 versus 3.79 ± 1.24 mm3 (treated versus controls, respectively), i.e., a 99.7% reduction (p < 0.001). The different outcome in experiment 1 and 2 is most likely due to differences in microtumor sizes at therapy, or higher tumor-take in experiment 2 (where more cells were implanted).


Evaluating fractionated α-RIT with 211At-labeled anti-PSCA A11 minibody, we found clear growth inhibition on both macrotumors and intratibial microtumors. For mice treated with multiple fractions, we also observed radiotoxicity manifested by progressive loss in body weight at 30 to 90 days after treatment. Our findings are conceptually promising for a systemic TAT of mCRPC and warrant further investigations of 211At-labeled PSCA-directed vectors. Such studies should include methods to improve the therapeutic window, e.g., by implementing a pretargeted regimen of α-RIT or by altering the size of the targeting vector.


Alpha particles; Alpha-radioimmunotherapy; Astatine-211; Intratibial microtumors; Metastatic prostate cancer; Prostate stem cell antigen; Targeted alpha therapy

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