Objective: We studied the efficacy of octreotide treatment on hypoglycaemia in patients with insulinoma and its relationships with Octreoscan scintigraphy and the presence of tumoral somatostatin receptors sst2A and sst5.
Design and methods: 17 patients with insulinoma were evaluated using (i) evaluation of blood glucose, insulin and C-peptide during a short 100 μg octreotide test in fasting patients and/or treatment over 8 days–8 months with octreotide, (ii) Octreoscan scintigraphy and (iii) immunostaining of the tumor with anti-sst2A and anti-sst5.
Results: Octreotide was effective on hypoglycaemia in 10/17 patients. Octreoscan scintigraphy detected 4/17 insulinomas. sst2A receptor was detected in 7/17 insulinomas and sst5 in 15/17 insulinomas. Octreotide was effective on hypoglycaemia in those seven patients with sst2A receptor-expressing insulinoma, and in three patients with undetectable sst2A receptor and detectable sst5; it was ineffective in six patients whose tumor expressed the sst5 receptor with undetectable sst2A and in one patient with undetectable sst2A and sst5 receptor.
Conclusions: Octreotide is an effective treatment of hypoglycaemia in more than 50% of patients with insulinoma. Detection of responsive patients was better based on a positive short test with subcutaneous octreotide than on the results of Octreoscan scintigraphy. Positive anti-sst2 receptor immunostaining is associated with efficacy of octreotide treatment, but does not account for all cases of responsiveness to octreotide. Expression of sst5 receptor does not appear to explain per se the efficacy of octreotide on sst2A-negative insulinomas.