Background: Successful treatments of patients with somatostatin receptor (SSTR)-overexpressing neuroendocrine tumours (NET) comprise somatostatin-analogue lutetium-177-labelled octreotate (177Lu-TATE) treatment, also referred to as peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), and temozolomide (TMZ) treatment. Their combination might result in additive effects. Using MRI and SPECT/CT, we studied tumour characteristics and therapeutic responses after different (combined) administration schemes in a murine tumour model in order to identify the optimal treatment schedule for PRRT plus TMZ. Methods: We performed molecular imaging studies in mice bearing SSTR-expressing H69 (humane small cell lung cancer) tumours after single intravenous (i.v.) administration of 30 MBq 177Lu-TATE or TMZ (oral 50 mg/kg daily for 14 days). Tumour perfusion was evaluated weekly by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), whereas tumour uptake of 111In-octreotide was quantified using SPECT/CT until day 39 after treatment. Based on these results, seven different 177Lu-octreotate and TMZ combination schemes were evaluated for therapy response, varying the order and time interval of the two therapies and compared with single treatments. Results: PRRT and TMZ both resulted in tumour size reduction, accompanied by significant changes in MRI characteristics such as an enhanced tumour perfusion. Moreover, TMZ treatment also resulted in increased uptake of the SST analogue 111In-octreotide until day 13. In the subsequent therapy study, 90 % of animals receiving 177Lu-TATE at day 14 after TMZ treatment showed complete response, being the best anti-tumour results among groups. Conclusions: Molecular imaging studies indicated that PRRT after TMZ treatment could induce optimal therapeutic effects because of enhanced tumour uptake of radioactivity after TMZ, which was confirmed by therapy responses. Therefore, clinical translation of TMZ treatment prior to PRRT might increase tumour responses in NET patients as well.

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EJNMMI Research
Department of Radiology

Bison, S., Haeck, J., Bol, K., Koelewijn, S., Groen, H., Melis, M., … de Jong, M. (2015). Optimization of combined temozolomide and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) in mice after multimodality molecular imaging studies. EJNMMI Research, 5(1), 1–11. doi:10.1186/s13550-015-0142-y