Radiopharmaceuticals for radiation synovectomy: evaluation of two yttrium-90 particulate agents

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Drug Stability; Evaluation Studies as Topic; Ferric Compounds; Models, Structural; Oxalates; Oxalic Acid; Rabbits; Synovial Membrane; Synovitis; Yttrium Radioisotopes


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Radiation synovectomy, a noninvasive therapeutic alternative to surgical synovectomy, has not gained widespread acceptance in the United States because of the lack of a suitable radiopharmaceutical. Two new radioactive particles, [90Y]Ca oxalate and [90Y]ferric hydroxide macroaggregates (FHMA), were developed in our laboratory and evaluated for size, stability, and joint leakage. More than 90% of the [90Y]Ca oxalate particles were in the optimal size range of 1-10 microns, and the unbound activity in serum and synovial fluid was 3.7% to 5.0%. Following injection in rabbit knees, leakage of [90Y]Ca oxalate was 5 +/- 2%, with localization primarily in the bone and virtually no uptake by the lymph nodes or liver. Yttrium-90 FHMA particles were larger (95% greater than 10 microns), and at least on a microscopic level, appeared to distribute homogeneously over the articular surface. Leakage of [90Y]FHMA was initially less but eventually slightly exceeded that of [90Y]Ca oxalate. Nevertheless, both radiopharmaceuticals can provide a satisfactory therapeutic dose to the knee with less than half the leakage and a marked reduction in absorbed dose to nontarget tissues compared to previously tested agents. Ease of preparation, physical characteristics of the 90Y beta ray, and apparent lack of substantial leakage from the joint make these agents extremely attractive for clinical evaluation in rheumatoid arthritis patients who are unresponsive to medical therapy.


J Nucl Med. 1989 Jun;30(6):1047-55.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine

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PubMed ID