DOI: 10.1186/s13550-018-0386-4Pages: 1-11

External radiation exposure, excretion, and effective half-life in 177Lu-PSMA-targeted therapies

1. Rostock University Medical Center, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. University Hospital Muenster, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
J. Kurth
Tel: +49-381-494 9013




Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeted therapy with 177Lu-PSMA-617 is a therapeutic option for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). To optimize the therapy procedure, it is necessary to determine relevant parameters to define radiation protection and safety necessities. Therefore, this study aimed at estimating the ambient radiation exposure received by the patient. Moreover, the excreted activity was quantified.


In total, 50 patients with mCRPC and treated with 177Lu-PSMA-617 (mean administered activity 6.3 ± 0.5 GBq) were retrospectively included in a bi-centric study. Whole-body dose rates were measured at a distance of 2 m at various time points after application of 177Lu-PSMA-617, and effective half-lives for different time points were calculated and compared. Radiation exposure to the public was approximated using the dose integral. For the estimation of the excreted activity, whole body measurements of 25 patients were performed at 7 time points.

Unbound 177Lu-PSMA-617 was rapidly cleared from the body. After 4 h, approximately 50% and, after 12 h, approximately 70% of the administered activity were excreted, primarily via urine. The mean dose rates were the following: 3.6 ± 0.7 μSv/h at 2 h p. i., 1.6 ± 0.6 μSv/h at 24 h, 1.1 ± 0.5 μSv/h at 48 h, and 0.7 ± 0.4 μSv/h at 72 h. The mean effective half-life of the cohort was 40.5 ± 9.6 h (min 21.7 h; max 85.7 h). The maximum dose to individual members of the public per treatment cycle was ~ 250 ± 55 μSv when the patient was discharged from the clinic after 48 h and ~ 190 ± 36 μSv when the patient was discharged after 72 h.


In terms of the radiation exposure to the public, 177Lu-PSMA is a safe option of radionuclide therapy. As usually four (sometimes more) cycles of the therapy are performed, it must be conducted in a way that ensures that applicable legal requirements can be followed. In other words, the radiation exposure to the public and the concentration of activity in wastewater must be sub-marginal. Therefore, in certain countries, hospitalization of these patients is mandatory.

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  • Accepted: Apr 2, 2018
  • Online: Apr 12, 2018

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