Radioimmunoscintigraphy and Biodistribution of Technetium-99m-Labeled Monoclonal Antibody U36 in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer

Remco De Bree, Jan C. Roos, Jasper J. Quak, Willem Den Hollander, Gordon B. Snow, Guus A.M.S. van Dongen

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So far, mAb E48 is the most promising antibody described for specific targeting of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in patients. On the basis of its more homogeneous reactivity pattern on HNSCC, the novel mAb U36 may be even better suited for targeting. In this study the biodistribution of mAb U36 was evaluated by radioimmunoscintigraphy (RIS) and biopsy measurements in 10 patients who were suspected of having neck lymph node metastases from a histologically proven HNSCC and who had been scheduled to undergo resection of the primary tumor and neck dissection. Patients received 1.8-53.0 mg mAb U36 IgG labeled with 756 ± 95 MBq technetium-99m i.v. Preoperatively, palpation, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and RIS were performed. RIS images included planar and single-photon emission computerized tomography images of the head and neck and planar images of the whole body. The diagnostic findings were recorded per side as well as per lymph node level of the neck and compared to the histopathological outcome. Radioactivity in blood samples and biopsies from the surgical specimens were measured. All 10 primary tumors were visualized by RIS. All diagnostic modalities were correct in 7 of 14 tumor-involved lymph node levels. The missed lymph node metastases comprised micrometastases, small tumor-involved nodes (<9 mm), and tumor-involved nodes with much necrosis, keratin, or fibrin. There were no false-positive observations with mAb U36. Besides activity uptake in tumor tissue, only a slight accumulation of activity was observed in the mouth, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, and scrotal area. Biopsies from the surgical specimen showed a high tumor uptake of 20.4 ± 12.4% of the injected dose/kg (range, 8.0-43.0% of injected dose/kg), 44 h postinjection. An increase in the mAb dose did not influence uptake of activity in tumor tissue. The mean tumor:nontumor ratio at this time point was 2.3 for mucosa, 2.8 for blood, 3.0 for bone marrow aspirate, 12.9 for fat, and for muscle tissue. The present clinical study shows that technetium-99m-labeled U36 IgG accumulates selectively and to a high level in HNSCC. The tumor-targeting results for U36 IgG are comparable to those previously described for E48 IgG. On the basis of the results of ongoing biodistribution studies in which both mAbs E48 and U36, labeled with different iodine isotopes, are simultaneously evaluated for tumor uptake and retention in HNSCC patients, one of these mAbs will be selected for future adjuvant radioimmunotherapy trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-598
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1995

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