Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs), Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy, Theranotics, Cancer Treatment Singapore

What Is Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy?

One of the therapies used to treat neuroendocrine tumours is Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy. It is a targeted radioligand therapy that specially targets tumours that express somatostatin receptors (i.e. neuroendocrine tumours). 

Its method of action consists of using peptide molecules such as artificial octreotate – transport – linked to a carrier agent for radioisotopes such as Lu-177 that destroy cancer cells.

Where Are Neuroendocrine Tumours Located?

Neuroendocrine tumours are cancers that arise from very specialised cells in the body (neuroendocrine cells). These cells have similar traits to nerve cells and hormone-producing cells. They are rare tumours and can appear in the lungs, pancreas, appendix, small intestine, and rectum.

Some produce hormones excessively (functional neuroendocrine tumours), while others produce little to no hormones (non-functional neuroendocrine tumours).

How Effective Is Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy?

The clinical effect of Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy for neuroendocrine tumours has shown improvements in overall survival, progression-free survival, and symptom relief. 

How Is Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy Administered? 

This type of therapy can be performed on an outpatient basis in the nuclear medicine department. Before starting, the patient will be asked to consume an average of 1.5L of fluids.

A peripheral intravenous line is placed in the patient to administer the treatment, in conjunction with an antiemetic before the infusion of amino acid compounds.

Administration of amino acids will take place 30 minutes before the drug is accompanied by intravenous fluids. This stage of the procedure takes a couple of hours.

It is then given as a slow, controlled infusion, which will last for approximately 20 minutes. After that, you must wait a couple of hours while the radioactivity decreases.

The entire treatment lasts approximately 4 to 6 hours, ranging from the preparation phase and the time spent waiting for the manifestation of side effects, if any.

What Are the Side Effects of Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy?

The infusion process is typically painless, with no acute complications expected. The most common side effects experienced are nausea and vomiting, generalised fatigue following treatment (this may last for a few weeks), and pain at the disease site. There may be potential marrow suppression or renal effect following treatment, depending on the number of treatment cycles, doses, and stage of the cancer. 

What Happens After Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy?

You will be monitored regularly by your managing doctor, and regular blood tests and imaging studies will be expected. 

Click here more information on Lutetium-177 Octreotate Therapy and the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) through theranostics.