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Cancer Res. 1987 Jan 15;47(2):551-8.

Somatostatin receptors in human endocrine tumors.


A selection of 90 mainly endocrine but nonpituitary tumors have been tested for their content of specific somatostatin receptors using receptor autoradiography. Somatostatin receptors were detected in the following tumors: in all 5 meningiomas tested; in 3 of 39 malignant breast tumors; and in 3 growth hormone releasing factor-producing tumors, i.e., one mediastinal carcinoid, one intestinal carcinoma, and its liver metastasis. Receptor density varied greatly among individual tumors. Some of the positive tumors were biochemically characterized using in vitro binding assay and were shown to have saturable and high affinity receptors with pharmacological specificity for somatostatin. The following tumors did not contain somatostatin receptors: prostate carcinomas (n = 17); prostate hyperplasia (n = 2); ovarian carcinomas (n = 6); endometrial carcinomas (n = 4); primary liver cell carcinomas (n = 3); pheochromocytomas (n = 3); aldosteronomas (n = 2); medullary thyroid carcinomas (n = 2); one adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting pulmonary carcinoid; one astrocytoma; one neurofibroma; one lung tumor; and one bladder tumor. Somatostatin receptors can be found in benign or malignant tumors, originating in part from tissue not primarily known as a somatostatin target. The biological function of such receptors is, therefore, partly unknown. If they can mediate antiproliferative properties, as has been suggested to be the case for somatostatin receptors in selected endocrine tumors in rats and humans, the present data could be of potential therapeutic interest.

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