One factor that is critical to the potential effectiveness of radioimmunotherapy is the design of radiometal-chelated antibodies that will be stable in vivo. Stability in vivo depends on the condition that both the chelate linkage and radiolabeling procedures not alter antibody specificity and biodistribution. In addition, synthesis and selection of the chelating agent is critical for each radiometal in order to prevent inappropriate release of the radiometal in vivo. In the present study, we compare the in vivo stability of seven radioimmunoconjugates that use different polyaminocarboxylate chelating agents to complex yttrium-88 to the mouse anti-human interleukin-2 receptor monoclonal antibody, anti-Tac. Chelate linkage and radiolabeling procedures did not alter the immunospecificity of anti-Tac. In order to assess whether yttrium was inappropriately released from the chelate-coupled antibody in vivo, iodine-131-labeled and yttrium-88 chelate-coupled antibodies were simultaneously administered to the same animals to correlate the decline in yttrium and radioiodinated antibody activity. The four stable yttrium-88 chelate-coupled antibodies studied displayed similar iodine-131 and yttrium-88 activity, indicating minimal elution of yttrium-88 from the complex. In contrast, the unstable yttrium-88 chelate-coupled antibodies had serum yttrium-88 activities that declined much more rapidly than their iodine-131 activities, suggesting loss of the radiolabel yttrium-88 from the chelate. Furthermore, high rates of yttrium-88 elution correlated with deposition in bone. Four chelating agents emerged as promising immunotherapeutic reagents: isothiocyanate benzyl DTPA and its derivatives 1B3M, MX, and 1M3B. All four isothiocyanate agents showed prolonged yttrium-88 vascular survival which was essentially identical to that of their iodine-131 activity with only minimum accumulation (1.4–1.8%/g) of the yttrium-88 injected dose into bone. Thus, these four chelating agents were very stable in vivo and suitable for yttrium-monoclonal antibody radioimmunotherapy.

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