The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (177Lu-dotatate) for the treatment of patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) — the first treatment specifically for this indication.1

177Lu-dotatate binds to somatostatin receptors to deliver radiation directly into tumor cells.

The FDA based its approval on 2 clinical studies. In the phase 3 NETTER-1 study ( Identifier: NCT01578239), researchers randomly assigned 229 patients with somatostatin receptor–positive GEP-NETs to receive octreotide LAR with or without 177Lu-dotatate.2

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By the time of data cutoff, patients in the 177Lu-dotatate arm had a 20-month progression-free survival of 65.2% compared with 10.8% among patients who received octreotide LAR alone. The 177Lu-dotatate and the control groups had response rates of 18% and 3%, respectively (P < .001). Patients in the 177Lu-dotatate arm also had a lower risk of tumor growth and mortality compared with patients who received octreotide LAR only.

For the second study, 1214 patients with somatostatin-positive tumors, including GEP-NETs, were assigned to receive 177Lu-dotatate. Of the 360 patients with GEP-NETs, 16% demonstrated a complete or partial shrinkage of their tumor.

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The most frequently reported serious adverse events with 177Lu-dotatate include myelosuppression, secondary myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia, renal toxicity, hepatotoxicity, neuroendocrine hormonal crises, and infertility.


  1. FDA approves new treatment for certain digestive tract cancers [news release]. Silver Springs, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; January 26, 2018. Accessed January 26, 2018.
  2. Strosberg J, El-Haddad G, Wolin E, et al. Phase 3 trial of 177Lu-Dotatate for midgut neuroendocrine tumors. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(2):125-35. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1607427