Distribution of somatostatin receptors in normal and neoplastic human tissues: recent advances and potential relevance

Published on Thursday, 27 March 2014


This short review describes the localization of somatostatin receptors with in vitro receptor autoradiography techniques in several non-classical, normal human somatostatin target tissues as well as in selected human tumors.

In addition to brain, gut and neuroendocrine localizations, somatostatin receptors are expressed in most lymphatic tissues, including gut-associated lymphatic tissue, spleen and thymus; in the cortical and medullary area of the kidney; in the stroma of the prostate and in the epithelial cells of the thyroid.

Among human tumors, the extremely high density of somatostatin receptors in medulloblastomas should be stressed as well as the favorable prognostic role of the presence of somatostatin receptors in neuroblastomas.

Moreover, several types of mesenchymal tumors have somatostatin receptors as well.

The receptor subtypes expressed by distinct tumors may vary: Whereas medulloblastomas and neuroblastomas predominantly express sst2, prostate cancers express sst1 rather than sst2.

A further emerging somatostatin target is represented by the peritumoral veins, also known to express sst2 receptors.

The multiple somatostatin targets in normal and pathological human tissues represents the basis for potential diagnostic and clinical applications of somatostatin analogs.



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