Objective: Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) represent a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, which include functioning and non-functioning forms. Somatostatin analogues (SSAs) play a key role in the management of these tumours. Herein, we aimed at reviewing the current evidence about the role of SSAs in the treatment of gastro-entero-pancreatic (GEP)-NETs.
Material and methods: An extensive bibliographical search was performed in PubMed using the following keywords: gastro-entero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, somatostatin analogues, octreotide, lanreotide, in order to identify all the pertinent English-written articles published between 1990 and 2015.
Results: SSAs have shown to help the symptomatic and biochemical improvement of patients with NETs and to exhibit a good safety profile. Recent studies have also reported a role for SSAs in tumour growth control, although the results are less impressive and the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood.
Conclusions: SSAs are well known as a symptomatic and, to lesser extent, anti-proliferative treatment in GEP-NETs. However, some issues, including optimal dosage, benefits and adverse events of combination with other molecules, and the role of new analogues, remain to be elucidated in further randomised studies.
Keywords: Gastro-entero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours; lanreotide; octreotide; somatostatin analogues.