Review article

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 33, Issue 11, pp 1352-1363

First online:

Auger radiation targeted into DNA: a therapy perspective

  • Franz BucheggerAffiliated withService of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital of Lausanne CHUVService of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital of Lausanne Email author 
  • , Florence Perillo-AdamerAffiliated withService of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital of Lausanne CHUV
  • , Yves M. DupertuisAffiliated withService of Nutrition, University Hospital of Geneva
  • , Angelika Bischof DelaloyeAffiliated withService of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital of Lausanne CHUV

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Auger electron emitters that can be targeted into DNA of tumour cells represent an attractive systemic radiation therapy goal. In the situation of DNA-associated decay, the high linear energy transfer (LET) of Auger electrons gives a high relative biological efficacy similar to that of α particles. In contrast to α radiation, however, Auger radiation is of low toxicity when decaying outside the cell nucleus, as in cytoplasm or outside cells during blood transport. The challenge for such therapies is the requirement to target a high percentage of all cancer cells. An overview of Auger radiation therapy approaches of the past decade shows several research directions and various targeting vehicles. The latter include hormones, peptides, halogenated nucleotides, oligonucleotides and internalising antibodies.


Here, we will discuss the basic principles of Auger electron therapy as compared with vector-guided α and β radiation. We also review some radioprotection issues and briefly present the main advantages and disadvantages of the different targeting modalities that are under investigation.


Auger radiation Nuclear targeting Treatment Dosimetry