Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate is a targeted radiation therapy drug. It treats a certain type of rare neuroendocrine tumor.
This drug is marketed under the brand name Lutathera. It’s given through an IV to people whose tumors express a protein called somatostatin. The drug attaches to tumor cells’ surface receptors. Then it delivers a radiation particle, which kills the cancer cells. It does not attack healthy cells. In clinical trials, this drug shrank tumors and slowed progression of patients’ disease better than older therapies.
Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate is a type of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). The FDA recently approved PRRT for patients who have not had success with other treatments, or whose cancer has spread. Patients must have progressed on octreotide or lanreotide therapy before they are considered for PRRT.
This drug treats cancers that are rare, so not many hospitals have the resources to treat them. Vanderbilt was among the group of hospitals that carried out the clinical trial for lutetium Lu 177 dotatate that led to its FDA approval. We have the knowledge and experience to offer this treatment.
Doctors with different backgrounds (medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, pathologists, interventional radiologists and nuclear medicine radiologists) meet as what’s called a tumor board. This group discusses new neuroendocrine tumor diagnoses and the cases of patients who are being considered for PRRT. You get the benefit of these specialists working together for your care.
Our gallium scanner helps diagnose neuroendocrine tumors and monitor how well your treatment is working. A doctor will inject a radioactive substance (gallium) into your arm that travels your bloodstream and collects in tumors. The special scanner shows where the gallium accumulates. This is done routinely for patients prior to treatment with PRRT as well as for newly diagnosed patients.
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