Current Scientific Rationale for the Use of Somatostatin Analogs and mTOR Inhibitors in Neuroendocrine Tumor Therapy

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité Mixte de Recherche 1037, Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, 1 avenue Jean Poulhès, BP 84225, 31432 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 12/2011; 97(3):727-37. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2011-2088
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Among the innovative molecules used to manage neuroendocrine tumors, there is growing interest in combining the somatostatin analogs octreotide or pasireotide (SOM230) and everolimus (RAD001), an inhibitor that targets the protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR).
The aims of this review were to describe the signaling pathways targeted independently by somatostatin analogs and everolimus and to summarize the scientific rationale for the potential additive or synergistic antitumor effects of combined therapy.
The somatostatin analogs (octreotide and lanreotide) have potent inhibitory effects on hypersecretion, thereby alleviating the symptoms associated with neuroendocrine tumors. Furthermore, the antitumor potential of octreotide is now well documented. Pasireotide, a somatostatin analog, has the advantage of targeting a wider range of somatostatin receptors (subtypes 1, 2, 3, and 5) than the analogs previously used in clinical practice (which preferentially target subtype 2) and thus has a broader spectrum of activity. Everolimus is a rapamycin analog that inhibits mTOR, but it is more soluble than rapamycin and can be administered orally. mTOR is a protein kinase involved in many signaling pathways, primarily those initiated by tyrosine kinase receptors. Sustained mTOR activity leads to the induction of cell growth, proliferation, and cell survival. Everolimus therefore has obvious potential in cancer therapy.
The combination of somatostatin analogs and everolimus in therapeutic trials offers a promising treatment option for neuroendocrine tumors.

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