Call to arms: need for radiobiology in molecular radionuclide therapy

  • Samantha Y. A. TerryEmail author
  • Julie Nonnekens
  • An Aerts
  • Sarah Baatout
  • Marion de Jong
  • Bart Cornelissen
  • Jean-Pierre Pouget
Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

Now is an extraordinarily exciting time for the multidisciplinary field of molecular radionuclide therapy (MRT) [1, 2, 3]. More patients than ever before are being treated with radiolabelled compounds, and an increasing number of pharmaceutical companies incorporate radiopharmaceuticals into their portfolios.

MRT allows specific irradiation of localised and disseminated disease, with potentially fewer side effects than external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). However, aside from obvious improvements in radiochemistry, radiopharmacy, and dosimetry of MRT agents, a better understanding of the radiobiology, i.e. of the biological effects of ionising radiation of MRT agents, is needed.

Radiobiology has been key in establishing optimal treatment regimens for EBRT whilst protecting healthy tissues. The paradigm of radiobiology is that tumour control probability and side effects are proportional to absorbed radiation dose; radiobiology is thus deeply connected with dosimetry. However,...



The authors would like to acknowledge Mark Konijnenberg, Emmanuel Deshayes, and Fijs van Leeuwen for their comments during preparation of this letter.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author ST declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author JN has an investigator-initiated project contract with Advanced Accelerator Applications, a Novartis company. Author AA declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author SB declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author MdJ has an investigator-initiated project contract with Advanced Accelerator Applications, a Novartis company. Author BC is a paid consultant for Molecular Targeted Radiopharmaceuticals. Author J-PP declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Imaging Chemistry and Biology, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging SciencesKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and Nuclear MedicineErasmus MCRotterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.Department of Molecular GeneticsErasmus MCRotterdamNetherlands
  4. 4.Radiobiology Unit, Interdisciplinary Biosciences, Institute for Environment, Health and SafetySCK•CEN, Belgian Nuclear Research CentreMolBelgium
  5. 5.CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, Department of OncologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  6. 6.IRCM, Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  7. 7.INSERM U1194MontpellierFrance
  8. 8.Université de MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  9. 9.Institut régional du Cancer de MontpellierMontpellierFrance

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