Myeloablative 131I-tositumomab radioimmunotherapy in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: comparison of dosimetry based on whole-body retention and dose to critical organ receiving the highest dose

Joseph G Rajendran, Ajay K Gopal, Darrel R Fisher, Larry D Durack, Ted A Gooley, Oliver W Press
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2008, 49 (5): 837-44

UNLABELLED: Myeloablative radioimmunotherapy using (131)I-tositumomab (anti-CD20) monoclonal antibodies is an effective therapy for B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The amount of radioactivity for radioimmunotherapy may be determined by several methods, including those based on whole-body retention and on dose to a limiting normal organ. The goal of each approach is to deliver maximal myeloablative amounts of radioactivity within the tolerance of critical normal organs.

METHODS: Records of 100 consecutive patients who underwent biodistribution and dosimetry evaluation after tracer infusion of (131)I-tositumomab before radioimmunotherapy were reviewed. We assessed organ and tissue activities over time by serial gamma-camera imaging to calculate radiation-absorbed doses. Organ volumes were determined from CT scans for organ-specific dosimetry. These dose estimates helped us to determine therapy on the basis of projected dose to the critical normal organ receiving a maximum tolerable radiation dose. We compared organ-specific dosimetry for treatment planning with the whole-body dose-assessment method by retrospectively analyzing the differences in projected organ-absorbed doses and their ratios.

RESULTS: Mean organ doses per unit of administered activity (mGy/MBq) estimated by both methods were 0.33 for liver and 0.33 for lungs by the whole-body method and 1.52 for liver and 1.74 for lungs by the organ-specific method (P=0.0001). The median differences between methods were 0.92 mGy/MBq (range, 0.36-2.2 mGy/MBq) for lungs, 0.82 mGy/MBq (range, 0.28-1.67 mGy/MBq) for liver, and -0.01 mGy/MBq (range, -0.18-0.16 mGy/MBq) for whole body. The median ratios of the treatment activities based on limiting normal-organ dose were 5.12 (range, 2.33-10.01) for lungs, 4.14 (range, 2.16-6.67) for liver, and 0.94 (range, 0.79-1.22) for whole body. We found substantial differences between the dose estimated by the 2 methods for liver and lungs (P=0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Dosimetry based on whole-body retention will underestimate the organ doses, and a preferable approach is to evaluate organ-specific doses by accounting for actual radionuclide biodistribution. Myeloablative treatments based on the latter approach allow administration of the maximum amount of radioactivity while minimizing toxicity.

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