Paediatric Molecular Radiotherapy: Challenges and Opportunities

Published on Feb 1, 2021in Clinical Oncology3.113
· DOI :10.1016/J.CLON.2020.11.007
Matthew D. Aldridge5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UCLH: University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust),
Connie Peet1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UCLH: University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
+ 4 AuthorsMark N. Gaze28
Estimated H-index: 28
(UCLH: University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Sources
Abstract
The common contemporary indications for paediatric molecular radiotherapy (pMRT) are differentiated thyroid cancer and neuroblastoma. It may also have value in neuroendocrine cancers, and it is being investigated in clinical trials for other diseases. pMRT is the prototypical biomarker-driven, precision therapy, with a unique mode of delivery and mechanism of action. It is safe and well tolerated, compared with other treatments. However, its full potential has not yet been achieved, and its wider use faces a number of challenges and obstacles. Paradoxically, the success of radioactive iodine as a curative treatment for metastatic thyroid cancer has led to a 'one size fits all' approach and limited academic enquiry into optimisation of the conventional treatment regimen, until very recently. Second, the specialised requirements for the delivery of pMRT are available in only a very limited number of centres. This limited capacity and geographical coverage results in reduced accessibility. With few enthusiastic advocates for this treatment modality, investment in research to improve treatments and broaden indications from both industry and national and charitable research funders has historically been suboptimal. Nonetheless, there is now an increasing interest in the opportunities offered by pMRT. Increased research funding has been allocated, and technical developments that will permit innovative approaches in pMRT are available for exploration. A new portfolio of clinical trials is being assembled. These studies should help to move at least some paediatric treatments from simply palliative use into potentially curative protocols. Therapeutic strategies require modification and optimisation to achieve this. The delivery should be personalised and tailored appropriately, with a comprehensive evaluation of tumour and organ-at-risk dosimetry, in alignment with the external beam model of radiotherapy. This article gives an overview of the current status of pMRT, indicating the barriers to progress and identifying ways in which these may be overcome.
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