Octreotide and pasireotide effects on medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) cells growth, migration and invasion

E. Giardino, R. Catalano, F. Mangili, A. M. Barbieri, D. Treppiedi, F. M. Elli, A. Dolci, A. Contarino, A. Spada, M. Arosio, G. Mantovani, E. Peverelli

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Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine neoplasm of the parafollicular thyroid C cells. Although somatostatin receptors are expressed by MTCs, treatment with octreotide has shown poor efficacy, whereas recently pasireotide has demonstrated antiproliferative effects in persistent postoperative MTCs. Aim of this study was to test the effects of octreotide and pasireotide on MTC cells proliferation, cell cycle proteins expression, MAPK activation, apoptosis, calcitonin secretion, migration and invasion in TT cell line as well as in primary MTC cultured cells. Our results showed that both octreotide and pasireotide reduced TT cell proliferation (−35.2 ± 12.1%, p < 0.001, and −25.3 ± 24.8%, p < 0.05, at 10−8 M, respectively), with concomitant inhibition of ERK phosphorylation and cyclin D1 expression. This cytostatic effect was accompanied by a proapoptotic action, with an increase of caspase3/7 activity of 1.5-fold. Moreover, both octreotide and pasireotide inhibited cell migration (−50.9 ± 11.3%, p < 0.01, and −40.5 ± 17%, p < 0.05, respectively) and invasion (−61.3 ± 35.1%, p < 0.05, and −49.7 ± 18%, p < 0.01, respectively). No effect was observed on calcitonin secretion. We then tried to extend these observations to primary cultures (n = 5). Octreotide and/or pasireotide were effective in reducing cells proliferation in 3 out of 5 tumors, and to induce cell apoptosis in 1 out of 3 MTCs. Both octreotide and pasireotide were able to reduce cell migration in all MTC tested. SST2, SST3 and SST5 were expressed in all MTC, with a tendency to increased expression of SST2 in RET mutated vs wild type MTCs. In agreement, inhibition of mutated RET in TT cells reduced SST2 expression. In conclusion, we demonstrated that octreotide and pasireotide inhibited cell proliferation and invasiveness in a subset of MTC, supporting their potential use in the control of tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111092
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2021


  • Cell migration
  • Cell proliferation
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Somatostatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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