Evaluation of 68Ga-DOTATATE uptake at the pituitary region and the biochemical response to somatostatin analogs in acromegaly



Acromegaly is associated with many comorbidities and increased mortality. The first-line treatment is transsphenoidal surgery. However, many patients also need adjuvant drug treatment after surgery. Somatostatin analog (SSA), which suppresses GH secretion by somatotrophs by binding to the SSTR2 receptor, is the first choice. Nevertheless, 50% of patients are partially or totally resistant to SSA, so predictive factors of response are helpful to individualize drug treatment. 68GaDOTATATE PET/CT has emerged as the gold-standard method in the diagnosis and follow-up of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, which also express SSTR. Our objective was to evaluate whether 68Ga-DOTATATE uptake (SUV max) at the pituitary region of patients on SSA therapy would be useful as a drug response predictor without the need of tumoral tissue.


Fifteen acromegalics patients on SSA treatment for at least 6 months were underwent to 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT at the nuclear medicine service. There was an SSA complete response group (n = 5), defined as GH < 1 µg/L and IFG-1 in the normal range for gender and age, and a group that did not meet these criteria (n = 10).


As a result, we did not find out a significantly higher SUV max in the complete response group (p = 0.0576) to SSA. However, we found a significant inverse relationship between postoperative GH values and the SUVmax at the sella turcica (p = 0.0188), probably reflecting tumor SSTR2 expression.


Thus, after this initial evaluation, 68GaDOTATATE PET/CT should be better studied to assess its usefulness in the follow-up of acromegalic patients.

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We did not receive any funding for this survey. 68Ga-DOTATATE doses were donated by the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (IPEN).

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Correspondence to K. B. Daniel or H. M. Garmes.

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Daniel, K.B., de Oliveira Santos, A., de Andrade, R.A. et al. Evaluation of 68Ga-DOTATATE uptake at the pituitary region and the biochemical response to somatostatin analogs in acromegaly. J Endocrinol Invest (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40618-021-01523-6

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  • Acromegaly
  • Somatostatin analogs
  • SSTR2