Pretargeted delivery of radionuclides is based upon bispecific immunoconjugates that bind a target tumor antigen and a small molecule carrying the active payload. This strategy is supposed to combine the advantage of antibodies to track tumor cells in vivo and of small radiolabeled molecules that clear rapidly from normal organs and minimize toxicity. Many pretargeting approaches have been proposed, but only those using the biotin / avidin recognition system and those using bispecific anti-tumor x anti-hapten antibodies have been tested in the clinic for both immunoscintigraphy and radioimmunotherapy. Their respective advantages and drawbacks, as well as hurdles in the way of an effective therapy against solid tumors, are discussed. In the light of the encouraging results obtained so far in the clinic, pretargeting remains a most promising challenge for chemistry and biotechnology.
Keywords: pretargeting, immunoscintigraphy, radioimmunotherapy, antibodies, cancer
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