Molecular and chemical neuropathology

, Volume 21, Issue 2–3, pp 139–154 | Cite as

Boron neutron capture therapy of primary and metastatic brain tumors

  • Rolf F. Barth
  • Albert H. Soloway


Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is based on the nuclear reaction that occurs when a stable isotope, boron-10, is irradiated with low energy (0.025 eV) thermal neutrons (nth) to yield alpha (4He) particles and,7Li nuclei (10B+nth→[11B]→4He+7Li+2.79 MeV). The success of BNCT as a tumoricidal modality is dependent on the delivery of a sufficient quantity of10B andnth to individual cancer cells to sustain a lethal10B(n, α)7Li reaction. Boron delivery agents include a variety of compounds, such as the sulfhydryl containing polyhedral borane sodium borocaptate (Na2B12H11SH, [BSH]), boronoporphyrins, boronophenylalanine, carboranyl uridines (CBU), and boronated monoclonal antibodies (MAb). The present review will focus on three delivery systems that currently are under investigation in our laboratories, boronated monoclonal antibodies, carboranyl uridines, and boronophenylalanine. Methodology has been developed to heavily boronate MAb using a precision macromolecule, a “starburst” dendrimer, which can be linked to MAb by means of heterobifunctional reagents. Although the resulting immunoconjugates retain their in vitro immunoreactivity, they lose their in vivo tumor localizing properties and accumulate in the liver. In order to obviate this problem, work is now in progress to produce bispecific MAb, which can simultaneously recognize a tumor-associated antigen and a boronated macromolecule. Boron containing, nucleosides are potential vehicles for incorporating boron compounds into nucleic acids of neoplastic cells. For this purpose, carboranyl uridines have been synthesized with the boron moiety on either the pyrimidine base or on the carbohydrate component. Although such structures appear to be avidly taken up and retained by tumor cells in vitro, only the 5-carboranyl-nucleosides are converted biologically to the nucleotide. There is no evidence, however, that the latter are incorporated into nucleic acids. Other carboranyl nucleosides currently are being synthesized that may have better tumor localizing properties. The potential use of boronophenylalanine as a capture agent for the treatment of melanoma metastatic to the brain also is under investigation. A nude rat model has been developed using human melanoma cells that are stereotactically implanted into the brain. BNCT-treated animals have either had prolonged survival times or continue to live compared to control rats that invariably died of their tumors, thereby suggesting therapeutic efficacy.

Index Entries

Boron compounds neutron capture therapy melanomas gliomas monoclonal antibodies dendrimers carboranyl uridines phenylalanine 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf F. Barth
    • 1
  • Albert H. Soloway
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbus
  2. 2.College of PharmacyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbus

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