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Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT)

What is PRRT, also known as lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera®), for advanced pancreatic or gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs)?


PRRT stands for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera®) is a type of PRRT approved for patients with advanced GEP-NETs. The drug is a radioactive molecule attached to a chemical, dototate. Dototate binds to GEP-NETs that express the somatostatin receptor. The drug then enters these somatostatin receptor-positive tumor cells and the radiation emitted by the drug helps kill the tumor cells.


What happens during the procedure?


The drug is given intravenously (by IV). The drug is taken up only by cells that express somatostatin receptor, the majority of which are GEP-NET cells. The drug gives off radiation to the tumor cells with relatively little damage to the healthy surrounding tissue. Usually patients are able to go home the same day. For three days after the treatment has been given, patients will need to sleep in a room isolated from other individuals and use their own restroom. The reason is that patients are emitting radiation from the drug and eliminating radiation in their urine. The treatment is given four times eight weeks apart.


What are the side effects?


Side effects from lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera®) have been rare. They include nausea, low levels of blood cells, development of certain blood or bone marrow cancers, kidney damage, liver damage, abnormal levels of hormones in the body and infertility.


Is lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera®) right for you?


This therapy is most likely to be effective with patients whose GEP-NET cells express somatostatin receptor. Most GEP-NET patients have tumors that express somatostatin receptors. An FDA-approved imaging test can help your clinical care team determine if your tumor cells are likely to take in the lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera®).