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J Clin Invest. 1986 Jan;77(1):301-11.

Detection of colorectal carcinoma by emission-computerized tomography after injection of 123I-labeled Fab or F(ab')2 fragments from monoclonal anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibodies.


This clinical study was based on experimental results obtained in nude mice grafted with human colon carcinoma, showing that injected 131I-labeled F(ab')2 and Fab fragments from high affinity anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) monoclonal antibodies (MAb) gave markedly higher ratios of tumor to normal tissue localization than intact MAb. 31 patients with known colorectal carcinoma, including 10 primary tumors, 13 local tumor recurrences, and 21 metastatic involvements, were injected with 123I-labeled F(ab')2 (n = 14) or Fab (n = 17) fragments from MAb anti-CEA. The patients were examined by emission-computerized tomography (ECT) at 6, 24, and sometimes 48 h after injection using a rotating dual head scintillation camera. All 23 primary tumors and local recurrences except one were clearly visualized on at least two sections of different tomographic planes. Interestingly, nine of these patients had almost normal circulating CEA levels, and three of the visualized tumors weighed only 3-5 g. Among 19 known metastatic tumor involvements, 14 were correctly localized by ECT. Two additional liver and several bone metastases were discovered by immunoscintigraphy. Altogether, 86% of the tumor sites were detected, 82% with F(ab')2 and 89% with Fab fragments. The contrast of the tumor images obtained with Fab fragments suggests that this improved method of immunoscintigraphy has the potential to detect early tumor recurrences and thus to increase the survival of patients. The results of this retrospective study, however, should be confirmed in a prospective study before this method can be recommended for the routine diagnosis of cancer.

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