Somatostatin receptor-based imaging and therapy of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
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Somatostatin receptor imaging (SRI) with [111In-DTPA 0]octreotide has proven its role in the diagnosis and staging of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEPNETs). Newer radiolabeled somatostatin analogs which can be used in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, and which have a higher affinity for the somatostatin receptor, especially receptor subtype-2, have been developed. It would be desirable, however, if one radiolabeled analog became the new standard for PET imaging, because the current application of a multitude of analogs implies a fragmented knowledge on the interpretation of the images that are obtained in clinical practice. In our view, the most likely candidates for such a universal PET tracer for SRI are [68Ga-DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate or [68Ga-DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotide. Treatment with radiolabeled somatostatin analogs is a promising new tool in the management of patients with inoperable or metastasized neuroendocrine tumors. Symptomatic improvement may occur with all 111In-, 90Y-, or 177Lu-labeled somatostatin analogs that have been used for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). The results that were obtained with [ 90Y-DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotide and [ 177Lu-DOTA0,Tyr3]octreotate are very encouraging in terms of tumor regression. Also, if kidney protective agents are used, the side effects of this therapy are few and mild, and the median duration of the therapy response for these radiopharmaceuticals is 30 and 40 months respectively. The patients' self-assessed quality of life increases significantly after treatment with [177Lu-DOTA0,Tyr 3]octreotate. Lastly, compared to historical controls, there is a benefit in overall survival of several years from the time of diagnosis in patients treated with [177Lu-DOTA0,Tyr3]- octreotate. These data compare favorably with the limited number of alternative treatment approaches. If more widespread use of PRRT can be guaranteed, such therapy may well become the therapy of first choice in patients with metastasized or inoperable GEPNETs.