Somatostatin and other Peptide receptors as tools for tumor diagnosis and treatment

Neuroendocrinology. 2004;80 Suppl 1:51-6. doi: 10.1159/000080742.


Somatostatin receptors are expressed in selected human cancers. They are particularly frequently expressed in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP NET), including both primaries and metastases. The density is often high, the distribution is usually homogeneous. While various somatostatin receptor subtypes can be expressed in these tumors, sst2 is clearly predominant. These receptors represent the molecular basis for a number of clinical applications, including symptomatic therapy with cold octreotide in hormone-secreting GEP NET, in vivo diagnostic with Octreoscan to evaluate the extend of the disease, and 90Y-DOTATOC radiotherapy. GEP NET can, however, express peptide receptors other than somatostatin receptors: insulinomas have more glucagon-like peptide 1 receptors than somatostatin receptors, gut NET (carcinoids) may also express cholecystokinin 2, bombesin or vasoactive intestinal peptide receptors. Often, several of these peptide receptors are expressed simultaneously in GEP NET, providing a molecular basis for in vivo multireceptor targeting of those tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoradiography / methods
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnosis*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Peptide / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Somatostatin / metabolism*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Somatostatin