New molecular medicine therapy at Hospital da Luz

A new molecular medicine therapy designated DOTATATE-Lu-177 was performed for the first time on 11th of July at the Hospital da Luz. This therapy selectively targets neuroendocrine tumors that which significantly express somatostatin receptors on the surface of cells.

Neuroendocrine tumors present significant diversity in their biology, dimension, localization, growth, signs and symptoms and associated prognosis. As a result, individually tailored treatment programs are determined by a multidisciplinary team, in accordance with the specificities of each case. 

These days, the principal radioactive elements used for these cases are Lutetium-177 (Lu-177) and Yttrium-90 (Y-90). These elements are connected to octreotide, an analog of somatostatin. The resulting radioactive drug (DOTATOC-90Y, DOTATOC-Lu-177 or DOTATATE-Lu-177) is intravenously administered. Once in circulation, the octreotide present in the drug identifies the tumor cells with somatostatin receptors, connects to these cells and destroys them with beta and gamma radiation emission. The peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is suitable for internal selective radiotherapy in somatostatin receptor-positive metastases.

This treatment is well tolerated and has demonstrated good efficacy when administered alone or in addition to other therapeutic options.