Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (also known as LUTATHERA®) is a prescription nuclear medicine used in the treatment of metastatic neuroendocrine tumors, including pancreatic and small neuroendocrine tumors in the gastrointestinal tract. Once absorbed into the tumor, the radioactive material starts to break down tumor cells, destroying them.
This treatment works differently than chemotherapy in that it targets a specific receptor in neuroendocrine tumors and is available for adult patients with low- or intermediate-grade pancreas or gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors.
In order to administer this treatment, a facility must have nuclear medicine personnel who are specially trained in handling radiopharmaceuticals. The treatment consists of up to four infusion doses delivered eight weeks apart.
What can you expect before starting LUTATHERA®?
A few weeks before your first infusion with this treatment, your healthcare provider may conduct a few tests to make sure you are ready for treatment. They will check your liver, kidneys, and blood. Depending on the results, they may hold off on administering the treatment until you are ready.
What can you expect during treatment?
The infusion process lasts about 5 hours.
- Approximately 1 hour before you are given the treatment: You will be given a medicine that will help prevent vomiting or an upset stomach that you may experience because of the infusion.
- 30 minutes before you are given the treatment: You will be given amino acids through an intravenous (IV) infusion to help protect your kidneys. This infusion will take at least 4 hours. It will continue during and after you receive treatment.
- The treatment infusion will take 30 to 40 minutes and is given as an IV infusion.
What can you expect after treatment?
Because this treatment uses radiation, you will have to wait a short while before you can leave the treatment center. Your healthcare team will provide you with specific post-treatment instructions.
Your next infusion
You may receive this treatment up to three more times after your first infusion. These doses will be between eight and 16 weeks apart. You and your healthcare provider will decide how many doses and how long between each dose is right for you. Between each dose, your healthcare provider may check your liver, kidneys, and blood again.
After your last dose
Your healthcare provider may check your liver, kidneys, and blood on a routine basis after your last treatment dose. You will continue receiving long-acting octreotide 30 mg until your cancer spreads, grows, or gets worse for up to 18 months since you started treatment.
Patients who have progressed on sandostatin may be a candidate for this targeted treatment.