Antitumor activity of rapamycin and octreotide as single agents or in combination in neuroendocrine tumors

Endocr Relat Cancer. 2008 Mar;15(1):257-66. doi: 10.1677/ERC-07-0202.


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has emerged as a promising target for cancer therapy. Rapamycin inhibits mTOR activity but induces upstream signaling, leading to Akt activation, potentially limiting antitumor activity. Octreotide, a somatostatin analog, decreases phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling in some models, and thus theoretically may enhance rapamycin's antitumor activity. The aim of this study was to determine the antitumor activity of rapamycin and octreotide as single agents and in combination in neuroendocrine tumors. In carcinoid cell lines BON-1 and NCI-H727, cell proliferation was significantly inhibited by rapamycin in vitro, although rapamycin treatment did lead to Akt phosphorylation. Octreotide had limited antiproliferative effects alone, and did not demonstrate synergistic or additive interactions with rapamycin. Furthermore, octreotide did not overcome rapamycin-induced Akt phosphorylation. In vivo, rapamycin alone caused significant tumor suppression. Octreotide alone did not inhibit in vivo tumor growth and did not enhance rapamycin-mediated growth inhibition. In conclusion, rapamycin causes significant growth inhibition in carcinoid tumor cell lines in vitro and in vivo, thus mTOR is a promising therapeutic target for neuroendocrine tumors. Octreotide does not enhance the efficacy of rapamycin's antiproliferative effects in the models tested, and does not inhibit rapamycin-mediated feedback activation of Akt. Further study is needed in order to determine whether octreotide or other somatostatin analogs enhance the efficacy of mTOR inhibitors in other models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoid Tumor / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoid Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoid Tumor / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / metabolism
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Octreotide / administration & dosage
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirolimus / administration & dosage
  • Survival Rate
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • mTOR protein, mouse
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Octreotide
  • Sirolimus