Treatment of advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma with a combination of recombinant interferon α-2b and octreotide

Giovanni Lupoli, Edvige Cascone, Francesco Arlotta, Giovanni Vitale, Luigi Celentano, Marco Salvatore, Gaetano Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. The medical treatment of advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is still questionable. Results of chemotherapy are disappointing with almost no curative responses, few partial responses, and many side-effects. A recent report has suggested the activity of combination recombinant interferon α-2b (rIFN-α-2b) and octreotide, a somatostatin analogue, in the treatment of a metastatic carcinoid tumor. This new therapeutic schedule may be used in other neuroendocrine tumors. In this study we evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of octreotide and rIFN-α- 2b in patients with advanced MTC. METHODS. Eight patients affected by advanced MTC received octreotide at a daily dose of 150 μg for 6 months and subsequently at a daily dose of 300 μg for another 6 months, subcutaneously, and rIFN-α-2b at a daily dose of 5.000.000 IU intramuscularly 3 times a week for 12 months. Plasma calcitonin, carcinoembryonic antigenic levels, and morphologic staging were evaluated at 0, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS. The therapy was stopped in two patients because of diarrhea and toxicity of drugs used. Pre-existing diarrhea in four patients and flushing in one significantly improved during treatment. A maximum decrease of calcitonin was reached after 1 month in 2 patients and after 3 months in 4. In all of the patients carcinoembryonic antigen levels decreased during treatment. No significant changes of size of metastases were observed. CONCLUSIONS. The combination of octreotide and interferon is well tolerated and can be recommended for the treatment of advanced MTC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1118
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1996


  • calcitonin
  • carcinoembryonic antigen
  • medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • octreotide
  • recombinant interferon-α- 2b

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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