Somatostatin–dopamine ligands in the treatment of pituitary adenomas

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Somatostatin receptors (sst1–5) and dopamine receptor 2 (D2DR) are well expressed and co-localized in several human pituitary adenomas, suggesting possible functional interactions in the control of hormonal hypersecretion and tumor cell growth. The present review describes the expression and functionality of these receptors in the different classes of human pituitary adenomas. The sst2 agonists, octreotide and lanreotide, control GH hypersecretion and tumor growth in about 65% of somatotropinomas. The D2DR agonists, bromocriptine and cabergoline, control about 90% of prolactinomas. Such drugs are much less effective in the control of the others pituitary adenomas also expressing ssts and D2DR receptors. The second part summarizes the current knowledge on new chimeric compounds with sst2, sst5, and D2DR affinity. Such ligands bearing distinct ssts and DRD2 pharmacophores may synergistically produce an increased control of secretion and/or of proliferation in the different types of pituitary adenomas. The mechanisms of action of such chimeric molecules through increased binding affinities, prolonged bioavailability, ligand-induced modulation of receptors heterodimerization, are discussed.

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