We tested whether nuclear imaging with indium111 (111In)-labeled murine monoclonal (MoAb) anticarcinoembryonic antigen (anti-CEA) ZCE-025 antibody could detect recurrent disease in patients with a rising serum CEA level but negative findings for computed tomographic (CT) scans of the abdomen and pelvis, chest radiograph, and colonoscopy or barium enema. Twenty patients with a history of completely resected CEA-producing adenocarcinoma (18 with colon cancer, one with breast cancer, and one with Hodgkin's disease) and a rising serum CEA level were given an intravenous infusion of 2 mg of 111In-labeled ZCE-025 mixed with 38 mg of unlabeled ZCE-025. Planar and single-photon emission CT (SPECT) scans were acquired at 72 and 144 hours, and in 19 of the 20 patients these were positive. Of those 19, 13 underwent exploratory surgery, and cancer was found in 10, and two had a diagnostic biopsy, which confirmed cancer. Three patients who had negative laparotomies and all four patients who did not undergo surgery or biopsy were followed radiologically. In all seven, cancer was subsequently detected at the sites suggested by the ZCE-025 scan. Thus, tumor was confirmed in all 19 patients with positive scans. Five of 13 patients who were explored benefited from the study and the exploratory laparotomy, as disease was entirely resected in four or was subjected to definitive radiation therapy to the pelvis in the fifth. In two additional patients who were not explored, MoAb imaging resulted in definitive therapy to regionally confined recurrent disease. 111In-labeled anti-CEA MoAb ZCE-025 scanning in patients with rising CEA successfully imaged metastatic colorectal cancer that eluded detection by other methods and affected the care given to some. These results suggest an important role for 111In-labeled ZCE-025 scanning among patients with rising CEA and otherwise occult metastatic cancer.
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