Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy and the Treatment of Gastroentero-pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors: Current Findings and Future Perspectives

Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2018 Jun;52(3):190-199. doi: 10.1007/s13139-018-0517-x. Epub 2018 Mar 28.


Purpose and methods: Patients with inoperable and metastasized neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), particularly those with grades 1 and 2, usually receive treatment with somatostatin analogues (SSAs). Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) has gained momentum over the past two decades in patients who progress on SSAs. 177Lu-DOTATATE is currently the most widely used radiopeptide for PRRT. We reviewed the recent evidence on PRRT and the treatment of gastroentero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs).

Results: 177Lu-DOTATATE can be used as neoadjuvant treatment in patients with inoperable GEP-NETs, who might be candidate for surgery after treatment and as adjuvant therapy after surgical intervention. Combination treatments of PRRT with chemotherapy or targeted agents as well as combinations of radionuclides in patients with NETs have been explored over the last few years. The majority of patients with NETs experience partial response or have disease stabilization, a small percentage has complete response, while some 30% of patients, however, will have disease progression. The safety and efficacy of retreatment with extra cycles of PRRT as salvage therapy have been evaluated in small retrospective series.

Conclusion: Overall, there is evidence that disease control and quality of life improve significantly after 117Lu PRRT therapy. Clinical trials on this therapy are scarce, and there is a need for further studies to establish proper management guidelines.

Keywords: Lutetium; Neuroendocrine tumors; Nuclear medicine; Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy; Theranostics.

Publication types

  • Review