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Aggressive Thyroid Malignancies Tested for Somatostatin Receptors

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Monday, November 26, 2018

Utilizing cultured cells of follicular and anaplastic thyroid malignancies, and capillary immunoblotting and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction techniques, a research team determined that the somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) of these aggressive thyroid cancers are “a relevant and promising drug target,” despite previous limited and conflicting evidence. The investigators, led by Renata Jaskula-Sztul, PhD, of San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Caguas, Puerto Rico, published their work in the journal Surgery.

 The investigators established that cells in both malignancies expressed SSTR1, SSTR2, SSTR3, and SSTR5. They then treated the cells with the somatostatin analogs octreotide, pasireotride (SOM230), and KE-108 for 48 hours; SOM230 and KE-108 “exhibited the best antiproliferative activity among these de-differentiated thyroid cancer cell lines,” they wrote. “Octreotide was seemingly ineffective in [these] lines, [but] we cannot rule out its potential therapeutic efficacy.”

A clear need exists for more effective treatments for nonmedullary follicular and anaplastic thyroid cancers. “Although it is uncommon, follicular thyroid cancer has a greater rate of distant metastasis (29%) and can ultimately lead to death (17%) compared to papillary thyroid cancer (9% and 8%),” another nonmedullary variant, noted the authors. “Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the least common of all thyroid carcinomas (< 1%) [but] accounts for about 40% of thyroid cancer deaths…. Current aggressive, multimodal therapies fail to improve [its 5-year] survival rate.”

Continued characterization of SSTR expression “will permit a tailored, targeted therapy using radiolabeled peptides and improve patient survival rates,” predicted Dr. Jaskula-Sztul and colleagues.



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