Purpose: Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP NETs) are often associated with high expression of somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) which allows for PET/CT imaging with radiolabeled somatostatin analogs such as 68Ga-DOTATOC. The interplay between 68Ga-DOTATOC and the synthetic somatostatin analogs commonly used to manage patient symptoms may lead to competition between the labelled and unlabeled peptides for receptor binding sites and current product labelling recommends patients be taken off somatostatin analogs before imaging. In this study, we prospectively investigated in human patients the effect of a pre-dose of octreotide, a short-acting somatostatin analog, on the distribution of 68Ga-DOTATOC in GEP NETs and normal organs. Procedure: Research participants with GEP NETs were studied on two occasions using dynamic whole-body 68Ga-DOTATOC PET/CT. The two imaging studies were performed within 21 days of each other, using an identical acquisition protocol except for the administration of 50 μg of short-acting octreotide (pre-dose) immediately before the second PET/CT. Paired t-tests were used to compare tracer uptake with and without octreotide, for tumor and various normal organs. Results: Seven participants with a mean age of 53 ± 10 years were studied. Octreotide pre-dosing decreased radiotracer uptake in the normal liver and spleen by 25 % (p = 0.04) and 47 % (p = 0.05) respectively but did not significantly change uptake in tumor (p = 0.53), red marrow (p = 0.12), kidneys (p =0.57), or pituitary gland (p = 0.27). Conclusions: Our data indicate SSTR imaging can be improved with a pre-dose of unlabeled octreotide given just prior to injection of the radiotracer. These data suggest there may be no need to discontinue somatostatin analog therapy prior to PET/CT with 68Ga-DOTATOC, allowing for a simpler, less disruptive patient protocol. This approach warrants further study in a variety of settings.
- Neuroendocrine tumors