Increased delivery of tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies to brain after osmotic blood-brain barrier modification in patients with melanoma metastatic to the central nervous system

E. A. Neuwelt, H. D. Specht, P. A. Barnett, S. A. Dahlborg, A. Miley, S. M. Larson, P. Brown, K. F. Eckerman, K. E. Hellström, I. Hellström

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42 Scopus citations


We evaluated the delivery of melanoma-specific radiolabeled monoclonal antibody (MAb) Fab fragments in a pilot study of three patients with melanoma metastatic to the central nervous system. Tumor samples demonstrated excellent immunohistochemical reactivity with Fab 96.5, specific for a 97,000-molecular-weight melanoma antigen (p97), or Fab 48.7, specific for a melanoma-associated proteoglycan antigen. All three patients received 131I-labeled tumor-specific Fab (5 to 7 mg, 1 mCi/mg) intravenously. On a separate occasion, two patients received 131I-labeled nonspecific Fab (5 to 7 mg, 1 mCi/mg). There was no uptake of either antibody into the region of the tumor (as documented by γ camera brain images). However, there was increased uptake in the blood-brain barrier (BBB)-modified areas in all three patients when radiolabeled tumor-specific MAb was administered intravenously in conjunction with osmotic BBB opening. In one patient, the estimated cerebrovascular permeability x capillary surface area (PA) for the tumor-bearing hemisphere 3 hours after disruption was 1.16 x 10-6 sec-1 compared to the PA of 0.395 x 10-6 sec-1 in the nondisrupted hemisphere. Serial brain scans showed that >90% of the radiolabeled antibody cleared from the brain by 72 hours. The highest radiation doses (rads) calculated per 7 mCi injection were: left brain (barrier-modified hemisphere), 5.46; right brain (non-barrier modified hemisphere), 1.68; thyroid, 98; stomach, 9.1; kidney, 39.9; and total body, 1.33. There seemed to be increased uptake of antibody in the tumor region after barrier modification in one patient, but antibody clearance from that region occurred at the same rate as from surrounding and apparently tumor-free brain. In one patient who had carcinomatous meningitis, we demonstrated antibody bound to only a fraction of the antigen binding sites on tumor cells in the cerebrospinal fluid after BBB modification. We have not shown distinct, persistent localization of antibody in brain tumor; studies investigating MAb dose and other parameters as the basis for this problem are under way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-895
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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