Upon diagnosis, distant metastases are encountered in 21–50% of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). However, few systemic treatment options are available for the well-differentiated NETs in the metastatic stage. 177Lu-DOTATATE is one of the most effective treatments in this limited patient group. We retrospectively investigated its efficacy and effect on the survival in patients with both well-differentiated and grade III NETs who had high uptake in pretherapeutic 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/computed tomography scans.Patients and methods
Patients with metastatic NETs treated with 177Lu-DOTATATE between January 2010 and November 2015 in our department were included in this retrospective cohort. Toxicity and adverse effects were evaluated according to SWOG criteria. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were calculated considering the first date of treatment. Response was evaluated according to RECIST criteria. Potential predictors of survival and response were analysed.Results
Patients (n=186) with metastatic NETs originating from various primary sites (bronchial, pancreatic, nonpancreatic gastroenteropancreatic-NETs, pheochromocytoma–paraganglioma and unknown primary) were treated with 1107 courses of 177Lu-DOTATATE treatment (median: 6; range: 3–12). Among 160 patients whose responses to treatment could be evaluated according to the RECIST criteria, 28.1% (n=45) had a progressive disease, 21.9% (n=35) had a stable disease, 46.9% (n=75) had a partial response and 3.1% (n=5) had a complete response. Median follow-up was 30.6 months. The Kaplan–Meier estimated median PFS was 36.4 months, mean PFS was 38 months and the mean OS was 55 months. The disease control rates in patients with WHO grades I, II and III were 74, 73 and 60%, respectively, and the OS rates were 61.9, 52.2 and 38.4 months, respectively. We observed no major renal toxicity except a minor increase (11.1%) in average serum creatinine levels. In 33.9% (n=56) of the patients, grade I toxicity; in 9.1% (n=15), grade II; and in 1.2% (n=2), grade III toxicity were observed.Conclusion
177Lu-DOTATATE therapy is an important treatment option in somatostatin receptor type-2-positive pancreatic, nonpancreatic gastroenteropancreatic-NETs, and lung NETs including metastatic NETs with an unknown primary site and significantly contributed to patients’ OS. Additionally, peptide receptor radionuclide therapy may have a role in a selected subgroup of patients with grade III NET with high somatostatin receptor type-2 expression.