Tumour targeting and radiation dose of radioimmunotherapy with (90)Y-rituximab in CD20+ B-cell lymphoma as predicted by (89)Zr-rituximab immuno-PET: impact of preloading with unlabelled rituximab

Kristoff Muylle, Patrick Flamen, Danielle J Vugts, Thomas Guiot, Ghanem Ghanem, Nathalie Meuleman, Pierre Bourgeois, Bruno Vanderlinden, Guus A M S van Dongen, Hendrik Everaert, Mélanie Vaes, Dominique Bron

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PURPOSE: To compare using immuno-PET/CT the distribution of (89)Zr-labelled rituximab without and with a preload of unlabelled rituximab to assess the impact of preloading with unlabelled rituximab on tumour targeting and radiation dose of subsequent radioimmunotherapy with (90)Y-labelled rituximab in CD20+ B-cell lymphoma.

METHODS: Five patients with CD20+ B-cell lymphoma and progressive disease were prospectively enrolled. All patients underwent three study phases: initial dosimetric phase with baseline (89)Zr-rituximab PET/CT imaging without a cold preload, followed 3 weeks later by a second dosimetric phase with administration of a standard preload (250 mg/m(2)) of unlabelled rituximab followed by injection of (89)Zr-rituximab, and a therapeutic phase 1 week later with administration of unlabelled rituximab followed by (90)Y-rituximab. PET/CT imaging and tracer uptake by organs and lesions were assessed.

RESULTS: With a cold rituximab preload, the calculated whole-body dose of (90)Y-rituximab was similar (mean 0.87 mSv/MBq, range 0.82-0.99 mSv/MBq) in all patients. Without a preload, an increase in whole-body dose of 59% and 87% was noted in two patients with preserved circulating CD20+ B cells. This increase in radiation dose was primarily due to a 12.4-fold to 15-fold higher dose to the spleen without a preload. No significant change in whole-body dose was noted in the three other patients with B-cell depletion. Without a preload, consistently higher tumour uptake was noticed in patients with B-cell depletion.

CONCLUSION: Administration of the standard preload of unlabelled rituximab impairs radioconjugate tumour targeting in the majority of patients eligible for radioimmunotherapy, that is patients previously treated with rituximab-containing therapeutic regimens. This common practice may need to be reconsidered and further evaluated as the rationale for this high preload has its origin in the "prerituximab era". Clinical Trial Application: CTA 2011-005474-38 TRIAL REGISTRY: EudraCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1304-1314
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radioimmunotherapy
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes


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