Radiopharmaceuticals earn high marks for treating malignant neuroendocrine tumors

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is an effective long-term treatment option for patients with malignant neuroendocrine tumors, according to a 12-year clinical study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

The authors studied how 44 patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors and enhanced somatostatin receptor expression responded to treatment with either 177Lu-PRRT or 90Y-PRRT. While 177Lu-PRRT is traditionally used for treating smaller tumors, 90Y-PRRT is the radiopharmaceutical preferred for larger tumors The mean age at diagnosis was 60 years old, and the median follow-up for patients was 80 months. Twenty-seven of the patients were men.

The median overall survival for these patients was 79 months, and 32% were still alive more than 12 years after starting treatment with PRRT. One consistent sign of a poor response to the treatment was progressive disease being detected soon after therapy began. Patients who benefited the most were women and those who had just one or two tumor sites.

The mean number of cycles of 177Lu-PRRT administered to patients was 5.3. For 90Y-PRRT, the mean number of cycles administered was 5.5.

“This study clearly demonstrates the long-term efficacy of PRRT over more than a decade in patients with metastatic tumor disease of neuroendocrine origin,” Michael Gabriel, MD, and Irene J. Virgolini, MD, of the department of nuclear medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria, said in a prepared statement. “PRRT can be repeatedly used with limited side effects. From this perspective, a relatively stable tumor situation can be achieved over many years in a large number of patients. None of the patients who were still alive at the end of the observation period were dialysis-dependent, and most of the patients showed a still very high KPI (key performance indicator), which underlines the positive effect of PRRT in terms of the quality of life.”