What is lutetium octreotate therapy?

What is lutetium octreotate therapy?

You may be offered lutetium-177-DOTA-octreotate (commonly ‘Lu-TATE’ or lutetium octreotate) if you have tumours that start in your endocrine or nervous system. These are commonly known as neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).

Lutetium octreotate therapy is one of a group of innovative treatments known as Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT). It combines octreotate, a manufactured form of the naturally produced hormone somatostatin, and lutetium-177, a compound that releases radiation into a tumour.

Lutetium octreotate therapy aims to stop NETs from growing. It can also reduce their size. It does this by damaging cells within the tumour which stops them multiplying. It can mean the NETs become smaller for long periods of time, which may relieve your symptoms but it’s not a cure for your cancer.

How does lutetium octreotate therapy work?

Body cells have many different types of receptors on their surface. These allow cells to send signals to other cells. The signals coordinate your body functions. They help them respond to changes in their environment.

The hormone somatostatin is produced by your endocrine system. It has many functions. Many cells in your body have receptors for somatostatin. NETs usually have a large number of somatostatin receptors on their surface.

Synthetic octreotate is similar to your natural somatostatin. It locks onto the somatostatin receptors. When it’s injected into your body, it attaches to NET cells and to some normal organs.

Lutetium-177 octreotate treatment involves attaching an isotope, called lutetium-177, to this man-made octreotate.

The lutetium-177 part of the compound is radioactive. The octreotate molecule transports the lutetium-177 direct to the tumour site and attaches to NET cells. It damages them in a targeted way, so your whole body isn’t exposed to radiation.

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