Assessment of the efficacy and toxicity of (131)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine therapy for metastatic neuroendocrine tumours

Br J Cancer. 2008 Mar 25;98(6):1053-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604273. Epub 2008 Feb 19.


(131)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ((131)I-MIBG) is a licensed palliative treatment for patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumours. We have retrospectively assessed the consequences of (131)I-MIBG therapy in 48 patients (30 gastroenteropancreatic, 6 pulmonary, 12 unknown primary site) with metastatic neuroendocrine tumours attending Royal Liverpool University Hospital between 1996 and 2006. Mean age at diagnosis was 57.6 years (range 34-81). (131)I-MIBG was administered on 88 occasions (mean 1.8 treatments, range 1-4). Twenty-nine patients had biochemical markers measured before and after (131)I-MIBG, of whom 11 (36.7%) showed >50% reduction in levels post-therapy. Forty patients had radiological investigations performed after (131)I-MIBG, of whom 11(27.5%) showed reduction in tumour size post-therapy. Twenty-seven (56.3%) patients reported improved symptoms after (131)I-MIBG therapy. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed significantly increased survival (P=0.01) from the date of first (131)I-MIBG in patients who reported symptomatic benefit from therapy. Patients with biochemical and radiological responses did not show any statistically significant alteration in survival compared to non-responders. Eleven (22.9%) patients required hospitalisation as a consequence of complications, mostly due to mild bone marrow suppression. (131)I-MIBG therefore improved symptoms in more than half of the patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumours and survival was increased in those patients who reported a symptomatic response to therapy.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / adverse effects*
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hematologic Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / mortality
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / therapy*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / adverse effects
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine