Neuroblastoma is a pediatric malignancy with a poor prognosis at least partly attributable to an early pattern of dissemination. New approaches to treatment of micrometastases include targeted radiotherapy using radiolabeled antibodies or molecules which are taken up preferentially by tumor cells. Multicellular tumor spheroids (MTS) resemble micrometastases during the avascular phase of their development. A human neuroblastoma cell line (NBl-G) was grown as MTS and incubated briefly with a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody (131I-UJ13A) directed against neuroectodermal antigens. Spheroid response was evaluated in terms of regrowth delay or proportion sterilized. A dose-response relationship was demonstrated in terms of 131I activity or duration of incubation. Control experiments using unlabeled UJ13A, radiolabeled nonspecific antibody (T2.10), radiolabeled human serum albumin, and radiolabeled sodium iodide showed these to be relatively ineffective compared to 131I-UJ13A. The cell line NBl-G grown as MTS has also been found to preferentially accumulate the radiolabeled catecholamine precursor molecule m-[131I]iodobenzylguanidine compared to cell lines derived from other tumor types. NBl-G cells grown as MTS provide a promising laboratory model for targeted radiotherapy of neuroblastoma micrometastases using radiolabeled antibodies or m-iodobenzylguanidine.
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