Alpha-particle emitting radionuclides are attractive for targeted cancer therapies due to their physicochemical properties. Their high linear energy transfer (LET) and short particle range makes them particularly toxic at a microscopic level, which is ideal for treating disseminated micrometastases. However, their cytotoxic properties also place special demands on the pharmacokinetics of the tumor specific carrier vector, where high tumor-to-normal-tissue ratios are a prerequisite. Tumor specific antibodies are perhaps the most common vector for targeted therapy, but due to pharmacokinetics considerations antibodies will generally not meet the standard for α-particle radioimmunotherapy. However, the tumor specificity of monoclonal antibodies may be used in pretargeting techniques, strategies used to increase the selectivity of the radioactivity. The basic concept of pretargeting relies on a separate administration of a modified antibody and a radioactive ligand. The modified antibody is first injected and allowed to localize on the tumor. Then, the radiolabeled ligand is injected, which is a small molecule that rapidly localizes the modified antibody on tumor cells while non-localized ligand rapidly clears from the circulation, preferably through renal filtration. Several pretargeting strategies have been developed, in particular the avidin-biotin system and bispecific antibodies. Approaches under evaluation are the use of complementary DNA, morpholinos, and the use of infinite antigen binding. Preclinical and clinical studies of pretargeting have shown that favorable distribution of the radioactivity can be achieved, which may increase dose to the tumor as compared with the dose from directly labeled antibodies, and most important decrease the dose to normal tissues. This survey describes different pretargeting strategies, and includes a review of pretargeting with α emitting radionuclides.
Keywords: α-particle, pretargeting, pretargeted, radioimmunotherapy, avidin-biotin, bispecific antibodies, therapeutic effector, EDTA, tumor localization, DOTA biotin