Somatostatin-receptor imaging in the localization of endocrine tumors

N Engl J Med. 1990 Nov 1;323(18):1246-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199011013231805.


Background and methods: A number of different tumors have receptors for somatostatin. We evaluated the efficacy of scanning with 123I-labeled Tyr3-octreotide, a somatostatin analogue, for tumor localization in 42 patients with carcinoid tumors, pancreatic endocrine tumors, or paragangliomas. We then evaluated the response to octreotide therapy in some of these patients.

Results: Primary tumors or metastases, often previously unrecognized, were visualized in 12 of 13 patients with carcinoid tumors and in 7 of 9 patients with pancreatic endocrine tumors. The endocrine symptoms of these patients responded well to therapy with octreotide. Among 20 patients with paragangliomas, 8 of whom had more than one tumor, 10 temporal (tympanic or jugular), 9 carotid, and 10 vagal tumors could be visualized. One small tympanic tumor and one small carotid tumor were not seen on the scan.

Conclusions: The 123I-labeled Tyr3-octreotide scanning technique is a rapid and safe procedure for the visualization of some tumors with somatostatin receptors. A positive scan may predict the ability of octreotide therapy to control symptoms of hormonal hypersecretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoid Tumor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoid Tumor / secondary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octreotide / analogs & derivatives*
  • Octreotide / metabolism
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Paraganglioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • 3-Tyr-octreotide
  • Octreotide