Vol 57, No 3 (2006)
Review paper
Published online: 2006-06-28

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The incidence of somatostatin receptors in human neoplasms in the light of ex vivo–in vitro studies

Marek Pawlikowski
Endokrynol Pol 2006;57(3):238-243.


Human neoplastic cells express and often even over-express the somatostatin receptors (sstr). It concerns not only pituitary tumors and the so-called neuroendocrine tumors of the gut, but many other neoplasms, including the non-endocrine cancers. The incidence of sstr is important because it determinates the possibility of treatment with SST (somatostatin) analogs. The examination of sstr is possible under the in vivo conditions, by means of the receptor scintigraphy using the radiolabeled SST analogs. The receptors can be also examined under the ex vivo–in vitro conditions, using the post-surgical or biopsy specimens. Among the in vitro (ex vivo) methods, the immunohistochemical investigation with specific anti-receptor antibodies seems to be particularly useful for routine clinical diagnostics. This review presents the data, obtained by means of different in vitro techniques, on the incidence of five sstr subtypes in the different human tumors, deriving from endocrine glands, diffuse neuroendocrine cells as well as in neoplasms consididered as non-endocrine.

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