Aim: To study the long term benefits, toxicity and survival rate in patients with neuroendocrine tumors receiving multiple cycles of high activity In-111 Pentetreotide therapy. Moreover, our secondary aim was to evaluate the value of F-18 FDG PET-CT scan as prognostic indicator in this group of patients.
Background: Neuroendocrine tumors are a heterogeneous group of malignancies which are usually metastatic at diagnosis. Standard chemotherapy in these patients is associated with appreciable adverse events and low effectiveness. Since 1990s, Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with radio-labeled somatostatin analogues has been introduced as a new method of treatment in patients with unresectable and/or metastatic neuroendocrine tumors expressing high levels of Somatostatin receptors.
Methods: 112 patients with progressive disseminated and unresectable neuroendocrine tumor (stage III and stage IV) were enrolled in a non-randomized trial in an out-patient setting. High activity In-111 Pentetreotide (500 mCi (18.5 GBq) per cycle) was administered as an intravenous infusion over 3 hours and repeated therapy cycles every 9-12 weeks in eligible patients up to maximum of 4 cycles. Response to therapy was evaluated by clinical imaging using the RECIST criteria, metabolic criteria and patient's quality of life questionnaire. Dosimetry and biodistribution studies were also performed. Finally, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed for patients followed for greater than 12 months. The relationship between pretreatment F-18 FDG PET-CT scan status and survival was determined by two-tailed Student's t-test in 42 patients who underwent pre-therapy PET scans.
Results: For an average of 25 (median 18.65) months following the therapy, patients were evaluated for any evidence of toxicity. No significant acute toxicity was observed in patients. Grade II or III hematological toxicity (7.6% of patients), liver toxicity (18.4%) and also grade I renal toxicity (6.1%) was observed in 92 evaluable patients. Radiological responses were evaluated for an average of 29 months following their last cycle of therapy and results were analyzed by the RECIST criteria. Majority (85%) of patients had stable disease (SD), partial response (PR) rate was 7.5% and progressive disease (PD) was observed in 7.5% of patients. The average survival was 24.67 months after 2 cycles of therapy, 30.53 months after 3 cycles of therapy and 30.19 months after 4 cycles of therapy. Of the 42 patients who had pretreatment PET-CT imaging, 31 patients had positive F-18 FDG scans (SUV > 2.5) with an average survival time of 18.9 months (range 1.4-45.8 months) and 11 patients had negative F-18 FDG scans (SUV ≤ 2.5) with an average survival time of 31.8 months (range 7.4-42.9 months). Survival times for FDG negative patients were significantly longer than those for FDG positive patients (p = 0.001 with 95% confidence).
Conclusion: High activity In-111 therapy is a safe and effective therapy for patients with progressive disseminated neuroendocrine tumors. No major hematological, renal and hepatic toxicities were observed. There was an increase in survival time particularly in patients with lower degree of liver involvement as well as patients who received three or more cycles of therapy, as compared to historical data. Pre-treatment FDG status may be a predictor of survival following In-111 pentetreotide therapy.
Keywords: In-111 Pentetreotide therapy, neuroendocrine tumors, long term benefits, toxicity and survival rate, F-18 FDG PET/CT scan