Many new targeted anticancer drugs have been developed. In order for these drugs to be effective, the tumor target has to be present during treatment. Currently there are only a few biomarkers available to help the physician select the appropriate targeted drug for the patient and often tumor tissue is required for biomarker assays. Immunoscintigraphy might be able to improve diagnostic imaging, to guide antibody based therapy and to support early antibody development. Many different radiopharmaceuticals have been developed and used to visualize all kind of different targets especially in oncology. Intact radiolabeled antibodies generally show high tumor uptake but low tumor-to-blood ratios, particularly at early time points. Radiolabeled antibody fragments and proteins show widely differing values for tumor uptake and tumor- to-blood contrast. One of the promising targets for visualization might be HER2/neu. HER2/neu scans may prove useful for tumor staging, guiding of targeted therapy and measuring target occupancy in early drug development. Immunoscintigraphic clinical studies performed with intact antibodies indicate that HER2/neu imaging is feasible. Additional research will be performed to prove its value and make this technique applicable on a larger scale. The aim of this review is to describe the types of radiopharmaceuticals that are available, and the potential role of immunoscintigraphy in improving diagnostic imaging, guiding monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based therapy and supporting the development of mAb-based drugs using the HER2/neu target as an example.
Keywords: Radioimmunoscintigraphy, HER2/neu, diagnostic imaging, targeted therapy, antibodies
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