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J Nucl Med. 1997 Jul;38(7):1036-42.

In vitro and in vivo detection of functional somatostatin receptors in canine insulinomas.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Ten dogs with hypoglycemia due to insulinomas were studied to assess the expression of somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) in canine insulinomas and its potential diagnostic value.


The response of circulating glucose and insulin concentrations to the subcutaneous administration of a somatostatin analog, octreotide, was measured. SSTRs were visualized in vitro by autoradiography. [Iodine-125-Tyr3]-octreotide and [125I-Tyr11]-somatostatin-14 (SRIF-14) were used as radioligands. SPECT was performed 6 hr after the injection of [111In-DTPA-D-Phe1]-octreotide.


After subcutaneous injection of 50 micrograms octreotide, plasma glucose concentration rose from 2.3 +/- 0.2 mmol/liter to 3.2 +/- 0.3 mmol/liter at 3.5 hr (p < 0.05) and plasma insulin concentration decreased from 451 +/- 135 pmol/liter to a nadir of 249 +/- 115 pmol/liter at 30 min (p < 0.05). In vitro autoradiography revealed that all primary insulinomas and their metastases had specific SSTRs for both [125I-Tyr3]-octreotide and [126I-Tyr11]-SRIF-14. Scatchard analysis of SSTR binding in the tumor tissue of one dog revealed high-affinity binding sites for [125I-Tyr3]-octreotide (dissociation constant (Kd) 1.7 nM, maximum binding capacity (Bmax) 499 fmol/mg membrane protein). The primary tumor and/or metastases in five of six dogs could be visualized and localized by SPECT with [111In-DTPA-D-Phe1]-octreotide. In the remaining dog, multiple metastases (< 3 mm) were found in the liver at necropsy, apparently too small to be visualized by SPECT.


The in vitro autoradiography and ligand binding studies indicate that canine insulinomas express one type of SSTR. This is in contrast with findings in humans where, on the basis of ligand binding studies, different subtypes of SSTRs have been identified. The uniformity of SSTRs, their high frequency of expression and the high incidence of metastatic disease make canine insulinomas very suitable for investigation of the value of SRIF analogs in the diagnosis and treatment of metastasized endocrine pancreatic tumors.

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