Long-term survival of atypical bronchial carcinoids with liver metastases, treated with octreotide

Pier Luigi Filosso, Enrico Ruffini, Alberto Oliaro, Esther Papalia, Giovanni Donati, Ottavio Rena
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2002, 21 (5): 913-7

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate that liver metastases by radically resected atypical carcinoids of the lung can be effectively treated by new somatostatin analogs.

METHODS: Between January 1977 and December 1999, 126 patients affected by bronchial carcinoids were submitted to a radical resection of the lung. Seven of them (5.5%) presented liver metastases 27, 22, 14, 18, 16, 12 and 9 months after surgery: carcinoid syndrome (CS) was ever present. 111In-DTPA-pentetreotide scintigraphy (Octreoscan) and ultrasound guided biopsy were performed in all cases, and the presence of somatostatin receptors sst2 was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.

RESULTS: Five patients refused the proposed chemotherapy, and liver alcoholization was not feasible. Octreotide was administered at the dose of 1500 microg/daily subcutaneously. CS was controlled and also high urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid values returned to normal after a median of 7 days (range 4-10 days) of medical treatment. No important side effects were registered, and a good quality of life was observed. The patients are alive and well at 51, 36, 24, 24, 23, 19, and 16 months after the diagnosis of the metastases, respectively. In two cases ultrasounds revealed the reduction and in one case the complete resolution of the liver lesion.

CONCLUSIONS: Octreotide is effective in controlling symptoms of CS of patients with liver metastases of resected atypical bronchial carcinoid. The efficacy of the drug is due to the presence of sst2 somatostatin receptors in the pathologic tissue, as demonstrated by PCR method. The positivity to Octreoscan depends on the presence of the same receptors. Octreoscan may be used in the follow-up of these neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung. A positivity to Octreoscan is predictive for an effective therapy with octreotide.

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