In contrast to the overwhelming success of radiolabeled antibodies in treating hematologic malignancies, only modest success has been achieved in the radioimmunotherapy of solid tumors. One of the major limitations in successful application of radioimmunotherapy is the large molecular size of the intact immunoglobulin that results in prolonged serum half-life and poor tumor penetration and uptake. With the advent of antibody engineering, small molecular weight antibody fragments exhibiting improved pharmacokinetics and tumor penetration have been generated. However, their clinical application has been limited by suboptimal tumor uptake and short tumor residence time. There is a greater realization that optimization of the molecular size of the antibodies alone is not sufficient for clinical success of radioimmunotherapy. In addition to their size, radiolabeled antibodies encounter other impediments before reaching their target antigens expressed on the cell surface of solid tumors. Some of the barriers include poor blood flow in large tumors, permeability of vascular endothelium, elevated interstitial fluid pressure of tumor stroma, and heterogeneous antigen expression. Recent research has considerably improved our understanding and appreciation of these forces, and the new wave of optimization strategies involves the use of biological modifiers to modulate the impediments posed by solid tumors. In combination with radiolabeled antibodies, various agents are being used to improve the tumor blood flow, enhance vascular permeability, lower tumor interstitial fluid pressure by modulating stromal cells and extracellular matrix components, up-regulate the expression of target antigens, and improve the penetration and retention of the radiopharmaceuticals. This review outlines ongoing research efforts involving biological modifiers to optimize the uptake and efficacy of radiolabeled antibodies for the treatment of solid tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research