[Zr-89]Zr-rituximab PET/CT activity in patients with therapy refractory interstitial pneumonitis: a feasibility study: a feasibility study

Human Adams, Ewoudt M. W. van de Garde, Coline H. M. van Moorsel, Danielle J. Vugts, Guus A. M. S. van Dongen, Jan C. Grutters, Ruth G. Keijsers

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Recent studies on immune-mediated inflammatory lung diseases show encouraging treatment results with rituximab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against CD20-expressing B lymphocytes. The present pilot study aimed to explore the possibility to image CD20-expression in the lungs as future early predictor of treatment response. We describe a series of 10 patients with therapy refractory interstitial pneumonitis who were treated with rituximab (1000 mg at day 0 and day 14) and underwent PET/CT after the administration of [89Zr]Zr-N-suc-DFO-rituximab abbreviated as [89Zr]Zr-rituximab. [89Zr]-rituximab PET/CT of the chest was performed on day 3 and 6. [89Zr]Zr-rituximab PET/CT showed visual and quantifiable increased pulmonary activity in four patients. Other patients demonstrated no increased activity in the lungs. One patient developed a severe allergic reaction during infusion of the first 10% unlabeled rituximab after which rituximab infusion was ceased. Subsequent administration of [89Zr]Zr-rituximab, however, did not result in any adverse reaction. This patient demonstrated the highest uptake of [89Zr]Zr-rituximab in mediastinal lymph nodes and lung parenchyma compared to the other 9 patients who did receive the full dose rituximab before [89Zr]Zr-rituximab. This pilot study demonstrates that [89Zr]Zr-rituximab PET/CT imaging in patients with therapy refractory interstitial pneumonitis is feasible and shows lung-specific uptake in some patients. Further research with larger sample size should establish if the [89Zr]Zr-rituximab uptake correlates with treatment response to rituximab. The higher uptake in the absence of a full 1000 mg rituximab preload may suggest that future studies should consider [89Zr]Zr-rituximab imaging at low mAb dose before treatment with rituximab.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-308
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Rituximab
  • [Zr-89]Zr-rituximab PET/CT
  • immuno-PET
  • interstitial pneumonitis
  • pulmonary activity
  • zirconium

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