Key Points

  • 211At targeted to CD38 eliminates MM cell clones in murine models of low-burden disease.

  • 211At deposits ≥500 times more energy than β-emitters and provides a mechanism of uniform cell kill unique among MM therapeutics.


Minimal residual disease (MRD) has become an increasingly prevalent and important entity in multiple myeloma (MM). Despite deepening responses to frontline therapy, roughly 75% of MM patients never become MRD-negative to ≤10−5, which is concerning because MRD-negative status predicts significantly longer survival. MM is highly heterogeneous, and MRD persistence may reflect survival of isolated single cells and small clusters of treatment-resistant subclones. Virtually all MM clones are exquisitely sensitive to radiation, and the α-emitter astatine-211 (211At) deposits prodigious energy within 3 cell diameters, which is ideal for eliminating MRD if effectively targeted. CD38 is a proven MM target, and we conjugated 211At to an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody to create an 211At-CD38 therapy. When examined in a bulky xenograft model of MM, single-dose 211At-CD38 at 15 to 45 µCi at least doubled median survival of mice relative to untreated controls (P < .003), but no mice achieved complete remission and all died within 75 days. In contrast, in a disseminated disease model designed to reflect low-burden MRD, 3 studies demonstrated that single-dose 211At-CD38 at 24 to 45 µCi produced sustained remission and long-term survival (>150 days) for 50% to 80% of mice, where all untreated mice died in 20 to 55 days (P < .0001). Treatment toxicities were transient and minimal. These data suggest that 211At-CD38 offers the potential to eliminate residual MM cell clones in low-disease-burden settings, including MRD. We are optimistic that, in a planned clinical trial, addition of 211At-CD38 to an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) conditioning regimen may improve ASCT outcomes for MM patients.

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