Ruby F. Meredith, MD, PhD

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Recent Progress in Radioimmunotherapy for Cancer

July 1st 1997

Radioimmunotherapy allows for the delivery of systemically targeted radiation to areas of disease while relatively sparing normal tissues. Despite numerous challenges, considerable progress has been made in the application of radioimmunotherapy to a wide variety of human malignancies. The greatest successes have occurred in the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Radioimmunotherapy, with or without stem-cell transplant support, has produced substantial complete remission rates in chemotherapy-resistant B-cell lymphomas. Nonmyeloablative regimens have shown so much promise that they are now being tested as initial therapy for low-grade B-cell lymphomas. Although solid tumor malignancies have been less responsive to radioimmunotherapy, encouraging results have been obtained with locoregional routes of administration, especially when the tumor burden is small. Greater tumor-to-normal tissue ratios are achievable with regional administration. Even with intraperitoneal and intrathecal administration, bone marrow suppression remains the dose-limiting toxicity. Ongoing research into new targeting molecules, improved chelation chemistry, and novel isotope utilization is likely to extend the applications of this strategy to other tumor types. The potential for radioimmunotherapy will be enhanced if this modality can be optimally adapted for integration with other agents and if the administration method can be tailored to the type and distribution of malignancy. [ONCOLOGY 11(7):979-987, 1997]