Holmium for Use in Cancer Therapy

Yi Shi, Amanda M. Johnsen, Anthony J. Di Pasqua

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Over the last few decades, holmium (Ho) has been investigated for its application in laser surgery, magnetic resonance imaging, and internal and topical radionuclide therapy. Ho has a 100% natural abundance of holmium-165, which is a stable nuclide that can undergo a process called neutron-activation to generate radioactive holmium-166 (166Ho). 166Ho emits βparticles and γ photons, with a half-life of 26.8 h; βparticles can damage a cancer cell’s DNA, while γ photons allow for 166Ho to be imaged in vivo and easily quantitated prior to, or during, dosing. This article gives a thorough account of the work being done around the world on 166Ho for use as an internal or topical radionuclide therapy against cancer. Our research group and others have generated compelling data that support the use of 166Ho as a radiotherapeutic in the clinic, especially since pharmaceutical formulations can be made while non-radioactive (Ho) and then made radioactive (166Ho) just prior to use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalComments on Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Inorganic Chemistry


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