Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy is a type of radiopharmaceutical therapy which is given to patients through an intravenous infusion. This treatment is prescribed for patients who have advanced neuroendocrine tumours. Neuroendocrine tumours are sensitive to radiation and commonly overexpress certain types of somatostatin receptors. A radioactive material is bound to a drug which targets these receptors – this is called a radiolabelled peptide. The radiolabelled peptide is taken into the tumour cells, where radiation can exert its effects. The radionuclide used in this therapy is usually Lutetium 177 (Lu-177).
Neuroendocrine tumours are tumours that develop from neuroendocrine cells. These cells have the traits of hormone-producing cells and nerve cells. They are found all over the body.
Neuroendocrine tumours are diagnosed by taking a tissue sample of the tumour and sending to the laboratory to be looked at by the pathologist. Following that, scans may be done to determine whether other parts of the body may be affected by the tumour. In some cases, blood tests are also needed to see if the tumour is producing hormones.
Blood tests looking at the blood counts, kidney function and liver function are needed before proceeding with PRRT. A Gallium-68 dotapeptide PET/CT scan is also done beforehand to determine if the tumour expresses somatostatin receptors and PRRT is a suitable treatment.
Upon discharge from hospital, you may be provided with medications for nausea and vomiting. You are encouraged to keep well hydrated. Regular blood tests will be ordered and you will be given appointments to return to see your doctor for review of these blood tests and follow-up.