Rationales, evidence, and design considerations for fractionated radioimmunotherapy
Although fractionation can be used in a discrete radiobiologic sense, herein it is generally used in the broader context of administration of multiple, rather than single, doses of radionuclide for radioimmunotherapy (RIT) or other targeted radionuclide therapies. Fractionation is a strategy for overcoming heterogeneity of monoclonal antibody (MAb) distribution in the tumor and the consequent nonuniformity of tumor radiation doses. Additional advantages of fractionated RIT are the ability to 1) provide patient-specific radionuclide and radiation dosing, 2) control toxicity by titration of the individual patient, 3) reduce toxicity, 4) increase the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) for many patients, 5) increase tumor radiation dose and efficacy, and 6) prolong tumor response by permitting treatment over time. However, fractionated RIT has logistic and economic implications. Preclinical and clinical data substantiate the advantages of fractionated RIT, although the radiobiology for conventional external beam radiotherapy does not provide a straightforward rationale for RIT unless fractionation leads to more uniform distribution of radiation dose throughout the tumor. Preclinical data have shown that toxicity and mortality can be reduced while efficacy is increased, thereby providing inferential evidence of greater uniformity of radiation dose. Direct evidence of superior dosimetry and tumor activity distribution has also been found. Clinical data have shown that toxicity can be better controlled and reduced and the MTD extended for many patients. It is clear that fractionated RIT can only fulfill its potential if the effects of critical issues, such as the number and amount of radionuclide doses, the radionuclide physical and effective half-life, and the dose interval, are better characterized.