Somatostatin receptor ligands and resistance to treatment in pituitary adenomas

Daniel Cuevas-Ramos, Maria Fleseriu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Somatostatin (SST), an inhibitory polypeptide with two biologically active forms SST14 and SST28, inhibits GH, prolactin (PRL), TSH, and ACTH secretion in the anterior pituitary gland. SST also has an antiproliferative effect inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Such actions are mediated through five G-protein-coupled somatostatin receptors (SSTR): SSTR1-SSTR5. In GH-secreting adenomas, SSTR2 expression predominates, and somatostatin receptor ligands (SRLs; octreotide and lanreotide) directed to SSTR2 are presently the mainstays of medical therapy. However, about half of patients show incomplete biochemical remission, but the definition of resistance per se remains controversial. We summarize here the determinants of SRL resistance in acromegaly patients, including clinical, imaging features as well as molecular (mutations, SSTR variants, and polymorphisms), and histopathological (granulation pattern, and proteins and receptor expression) predictors. The role of SSTR5 may explain the partial responsiveness to SRLs in patients with adequate SSTR2 density in the cell membrane. In patients with ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas, i.e. Cushing's disease (CD), SSTR5 is the most abundant receptor expressed and tumors show low SSTR2 density due to hypercortisolism-induced SSTR2 down-regulation. Clinical studies with pasireotide, a multireceptor-targeted SRL with increased SSTR5 activity, lead to approval of pasireotide for treatment of patients with CD. Other SRL delivery modes (oral octreotide), multireceptortargeted SRL (somatoprim) or chimeric compounds targeting dopamine D2 receptors and SSTR2 (dopastatin), are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R223-R240
JournalJournal of molecular endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 19 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Somatostatin receptor ligands and resistance to treatment in pituitary adenomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this