Combined use of 177Lu-DOTATATE and metronomic capecitabine (Lu-X) in FDG-positive gastro-entero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2021 Sep;48(10):3260-3267. doi: 10.1007/s00259-021-05236-z. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Purpose: FDG-positive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have a poorer prognosis and exhibit shorter response duration to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). The aim of this prospective phase II study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of PRRT with 177Lu-DOTATATE associated with metronomic capecitabine as a radiosensitizer agent in patients with advanced progressive FDG-positive gastro-entero-pancreatic (GEP) NETs.

Patients and methods: Patients with advanced somatostatin receptor- and FDG-positive G1-G3 GEP-NETs (Ki67 < 55%) were treated with a cumulative activity of 27.5 GBq of 177Lu-DOTATATE divided in five cycles of 5.5 GBq each every 8 weeks. Capecitabine (1000-1500 mg daily) was administered orally in the inter-cycle period between 177Lu-DOTATATE treatments. Prior to commencing capecitabine, all patients were triaged with the dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) test. Only DPD-proficient individuals were enrolled. The primary objectives were disease control rate (DCR) and safety. Secondary aims included progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Treatment response was assessed per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1 (RECIST 1.1). Toxicity was assessed by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) version 4.0.

Results: From August 2015 to December 2016, 37 subjects were consecutively enrolled. A total of 25 (68%) were affected by pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (P-NETs), and 12 (32%) had gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs). By grading (WHO 2010 classification), 12 patients (32%) had G1 (Ki67 ≤ 2%), 22 (59%) had G2 (3% < Ki67 ≤ 20%), and 3 patients (9%) had G3 (Ki67 > 20%) NETs. Grade 3 (G3) or 4 (G4) hematological toxicity occurred in 16.2% of patients. Other G3-G4 adverse events were diarrhea in 5.4% of cases and asthenia in 5.4%. No renal toxicity was observed for the duration of follow-up. In 37 patients, 33 were evaluable for response. Objective responses included partial response (PR) in 10 patients (30%) and stable disease (SD) in 18 patients (55%), with a DCR of 85%. The median follow-up was 38 months (range 4.6-51.1 months). The median PFS was 31.4 months (17.6-45.4), and mOS was not reached.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the combination of PRRT with 177Lu-DOTATATE and metronomic capecitabine is active and well tolerated in patients with aggressive FDG-positive G1-G3 GEP-NETs. These data constitute the basis for a randomized study of PPRT alone vs. PRRT plus metronomic capecitabine.

Keywords: 177Lu-DOTATATE; Capecitabine; Combined therapy; FDG; GEP-NETs; PRRT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Capecitabine / adverse effects
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / drug therapy
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / radiotherapy
  • Octreotide / adverse effects
  • Octreotide / analogs & derivatives
  • Organometallic Compounds*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Prospective Studies


  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Capecitabine
  • lutetium Lu 177 dotatate
  • Octreotide