Use of octreotide acetate for control of symptoms in patients with islet cell tumors

Published on Friday, 30 January 2015


Gut tumor syndromes are rare, occurring in less than two cases per million population per year: Insulinomas are most common and gastrinomas are less common; all the others are extremely rare.

Conventional treatment of the symptoms caused by these tumors has included surgery, hepatic arterial embolization, and chemotherapy; some patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) have been treated with specific agents such as gastric antisecretory drugs.

The development of octreotide, a synthetic, long-acting analogue of the natural peptide somatostatin, has offered an alternative to such therapies. Octreotide has a half life of > 100 minutes and inhibits both physiological- and tumor release of many peptides. It also has direct effects on the gut that modify secretion and motility.

Octreotide has been shown to be particularly useful for the symptoms of tumors producing vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), and of the carcinoid syndrome. It is also useful in patients with glucagonomas, with growth hormone-releasing hormone producing tumors, and in some patients with Cushing's syndrome and unresectable insulinomas. Octreotide is effective in patients with ZES, but alternative therapies such as omeprazole are more effective, safer, and more convenient for those patients.

Side effects of octreotide have not been troublesome in these patients, but the incidence of long term effects is still not entirely clear.

Octreotide has proved to be a significant advance in the treatment of patients with islet cell tumors.



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