A more controversial area concerns the treatment of patients with non-functioning endocrine tumours of the pancreas as few studies have been published in these patients. The prospective German Sandostatin multicentre phase II trial investigated the effects of octreotide for one year on tumour growth in 103 patients and included 15 patients with diagnosed non-functional pancreatic tumours . Only 3 out of these 15 patients had a stable disease, in 8 patients a tumour progression occurred while the 3MA outcome of the remaining four patients was not clear. As previously said, the SST analogue efficacy depends on
the tumour receptor expression patterns, but these are rarely assessed, even if there is evidence of better results on survival obtained with selective treatments. An antiproliferative effect was achieved on hepatic metastatic cells in a patient with a carcinoid tumour, selected for the Lonafarnib ic50 treatment with SST analogues after the immunohistochemical identification of the SSTR 1, 2 and 5 subtypes expression JSH-23 datasheet on the neoplastic cell
surface . A complete clinical remission with regression of the metastatic lesions in the liver after one year of treatment was observed in a patient affected by metastatic insulinoma with severe hypoglycaemia treated with octreotide LAR expressing at immunohistochemical analysis of tissue specimens a strong membrane immunoreactivity for SSTR 2 in both the primary nodule and the metastases . However, another study showed neither an antineoplastic effect nor an increase in survival percentage of treated patients . It has been reported that in glucagonoma patients there are no data available on their SSTR expression patterns . In 2006 we demonstrated, for CYTH4 the first time, a scattered immunopositivity for somatostatin receptors in a case of malignant glucagonoma.We had access to polyclonal antibodies specifically targeted against SSTR5 and SSTR2 and we were therefore able to localise these
two receptors in our histological sections. The immunopositivity was detected for both receptor subtypes in the membrane and in the cytoplasm of glucagonoma cells. We then treated our patient with a combination therapy consisting of the somatostatin analogue octreotide and interferon-α. The patient had a complete resolution of skin rash, normalisation of plasma glucagon, chromogranin A and neuron specific enolase levels, and metastatic disease stabilisation. The patient’s quality of life significantly improved, and she was alive 40 months after debulking surgery . In conclusion, in many cases authors did not stratify patients in treatment arms, according to the histological presence of the SSTR 2 receptor or its clinical expression. Consequently, most of them were likely not to be treated with the optimal drug required to achieve appropriate receptor saturation.