Purpose: Somatostatin analogs are indicated for symptom control in patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). The ability of somatostatin analogs to control the growth of well-differentiated metastatic NETs is a matter of debate. We performed a placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase IIIB study in patients with well-differentiated metastatic midgut NETs. The hypothesis was that octreotide LAR prolongs time to tumor progression and survival.
Patients and methods: Treatment-naive patients were randomly assigned to either placebo or octreotide LAR 30 mg intramuscularly in monthly intervals until tumor progression or death. The primary efficacy end point was time to tumor progression. Secondary end points were survival time and tumor response. This report is based on 67 tumor progressions and 16 observed deaths in 85 patients at the time of the planned interim analysis.
Results: Median time to tumor progression in the octreotide LAR and placebo groups was 14.3 and 6 months, respectively (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.34; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.59; P = .000072). After 6 months of treatment, stable disease was observed in 66.7% of patients in the octreotide LAR group and 37.2% of patients in the placebo group. Functionally active and inactive tumors responded similarly. The most favorable effect was observed in patients with low hepatic tumor load and resected primary tumor. Seven and nine deaths were observed in the octreotide LAR and placebo groups, respectively. The HR for overall survival was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.30 to 2.18).
Conclusion: Octreotide LAR significantly lengthens time to tumor progression compared with placebo in patients with functionally active and inactive metastatic midgut NETs. Because of the low number of observed deaths, survival analysis was not confirmatory.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00171873.