Somatostatin analogues in functioning gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours: literature review, clinical recommendations and schedules

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2016;51(5):513-23. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2015.1115117. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy*
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Peptides, Cyclic / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Somatostatin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Somatostatin / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • lanreotide
  • Somatostatin
  • Octreotide