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Anticancer Drugs. 1996 Jan;7 Suppl 1:17-22.

Octreotide therapy in carcinoid disease.

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Department of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Sheffield, UK.


Octreotide therapy is expensive, but at present it and other somatostatin analogues appear to offer the best opportunity of controlling the symptoms of flushing and diarrhoea. It may also have other properties affecting general well-being. The question of whether it changes tumour growth remains unanswered and there is no convincing evidence that it alters survival. In all published studies the numbers of patients are small and there have been no control groups. However, since no other drug has yet proved effective against flushing, the somatostatin analogues, including octreotide, remain the treatment of choice for the symptomatic control of the carcinoid syndrome. Octreotide is of great therapeutic value pre-operatively and intra-operatively and it is essential that all operating theatres have this drug available for immediate use. Surgical debulking, if feasible, provides the best outcome potential in carcinoid disease. Present evidence suggests that the place of octreotide and other somatostatin analogues is in controlling the symptoms of the disease rather than its progress and in ensuring cardiovascular and respiratory stability during surgical procedures.

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