Somatostatin analogs in patients with Zollinger Ellison syndrome (ZES): an observational study

Endocrine. 2022 Mar;75(3):942-948. doi: 10.1007/s12020-021-02915-7. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


Purpose: Zollinger Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a rare syndrome caused by gastrin hypersecretion from a gastrinoma. Gastrinoma treatment has two goals: the control of acid hypersecretion and the control of tumor growth. While therapy for the syndrome is univocally based on proton pump inhibitors, the one for disease control is still debated. We here aimed at evaluating the role of somatostatin analogs (SSAs) in the control of tumor progression in a series of ZES patients.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database of ZES patients, followed and managed from 1990 to 2019, was performed. The patients' clinical, pathological, treatment, and follow-up data were analyzed. Data regarding SSAs therapy start, dosage, duration, and side effects were collected.

Results: 33 patients with ZES were diagnosed. Fourteen patients (42%) had a grade 1 (G1) neuroendocrine neoplasm (NEN), five had G2 (15%), none had G3. Fifteen patients (45%) had metastatic disease. Overall, 12 (36%) underwent SSAs therapy. The median treatment duration was 36 months. Eight patients (67%) had a sustained response to SSAs, four (33%) showed an early progression, with a significant difference in terms of PFS between the patients with early and late progression (84 vs 2 months, p = 0.004). No differences in terms of OS and PFS were observed between the treated and non-treated patients, despite the proportion of metastatic patients was greater in the SSAs-treated group (75% vs 29% in the non-treated group, p = 0.01).

Conclusion: Present data support the use of SSAs in ZES, considering that gastrinoma is mainly a well-differentiated low-grade tumor (G1 or G2), with a high expression of somatostatin receptors.

Keywords: Neuroendocrine neoplasia; Neuroendocrine tumors; Somatostatin analogs; Zollinger Ellison Syndrome.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Gastrinoma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Somatostatin / therapeutic use
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome* / drug therapy


  • Somatostatin