Bismuth-213 Lintuzumab: A Promising Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

Bismuth-213 Lintuzumab represents a significant advance in the targeted treatment of AML, utilising the anti-CD33 humanised antibody huM195 labelled with the alpha-emitter 213Bi. Initially developed and trialled at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, this treatment has demonstrated efficacy in a high-risk AML population with manageable side effects. However, despite promising results, development has shifted towards an analogue compound, 225Ac-Lintuzumab (Actimab-A), leaving 213Bi-Lintuzumab’s future uncertain.

Understanding Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and CD33

Acute Myeloid leukaemia (AML) remains one of the most challenging blood cancers to treat, especially in older patients and those for whom traditional treatments have failed. The development of targeted therapies has opened new avenues for treatment, among which the radioimmunoconjugate 213Bi-Lintuzumab (213Bi-Bismab-A™, 213Bi-CHX-A’’-DTPA-huM195) stands out. This innovative treatment combines a monoclonal antibody targeting CD33, a receptor found predominantly on myeloid cells, with the alpha-emitter 213Bi, offering a novel approach to targeting and eradicating AML cells.

AML is a devastating diagnosis, characterised by the rapid growth of abnormal myeloid cells that interfere with the production of normal blood cells. Treatment options are limited, particularly for patients who are older or have relapsed disease. CD33 is a myeloid-specific receptor, making it an attractive target for therapy. It is expressed on the majority of AML cells and, in rare cases, on some lymphoid cells, providing a pathway for targeted treatments.

The Emergence of Bismuth-213 Lintuzumab

Bismuth-213 Lintuzumab emerged from the need for more effective treatments for AML. It harnesses lintuzumab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets CD33, linked to the alpha-emitter 213Bi. This combination allows for the direct targeting and destruction of AML cells with minimal impact on surrounding healthy cells. The first clinical trial with 213Bi-CHX-A”-DTPA-huM195 marked a significant milestone as the first use of a conjugated alpha emitter in humans, setting the stage for a new class of cancer therapies.

Clinical Trials and Efficacy

Clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have been instrumental in demonstrating the potential of 213Bi-Lintuzumab. These trials focused on patients over 60 years of age and those with relapsed or refractory AML, a group with few treatment options. Results have been promising, with complete responses observed in patients who had previously undergone treatment to reduce tumour burden. The therapeutic dose was established at approximately 1–1.25 mCi/kg, showing a low side-effect profile and clear signs of efficacy in nearly 50 patients.

Current Status and Future Directions

Despite the initial promise, the development of 213Bi-Lintuzumab is currently on hold, overshadowed by its analogue, 225Ac-Lintuzumab (Actimab-A). The shift towards 225Ac-labeled compounds reflects ongoing efforts to optimise the therapeutic potential of radioimmunoconjugates for AML treatment. While 213Bi-Lintuzumab has laid important groundwork, the focus has shifted towards agents that might offer improved efficacy or safety profiles.


Bismuth-213 Lintuzumab represents a significant step forward in the targeted treatment of AML, showcasing the potential of combining monoclonal antibodies with radioactive isotopes for precise, cell-specific therapy. While next-generation compounds may have superseded its development, the legacy of 213Bi-Lintuzumab in pioneering alpha-emitter conjugated treatments will continue to influence cancer therapy research. As the fight against AML evolves, the insights gained from the development and clinical trials of 213Bi-Lintuzumab will undoubtedly contribute to the refinement and success of future treatments.

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Tags: Cancer, Targeted Radionuclide Therapy
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