Lutathera is the brand name of a drug called lutetium lu 177 dotatate, a radiopharmaceutical and a member of the family of novel treatments called PRRT (peptide receptor radionuclide therapy).
This medicine targets tumor with radiolabeled somatostatin analogue peptides. The US Food and Drug Administration has originally approved this medication to treat people with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) on January 26, 2018.
This drug is produced by the French firm Advanced Accelerator Applications, a pharmaceutical group specialized in the field of nuclear medicine.
This novel compound has also received orphan drug designation (drugs intended for the effective and safe treatment of rare diseases which affect fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States) from the US Food and Drug Administration and the EMA (European Medicines Agency).
Mechanism of Action Of Lutetium Lu 177 Dotatate
This drug works by entering the somatostatin receptor−positive tumor cells, then, the beta emission from Lu 177 induces cellular damage by formation of free radicals in somatostatin receptor-positive cells and in neighboring cells. This helps to kill the tumor cells.
Its efficacy was evaluated in 2 clinical studies involving over 1,400 sufferers. Survival with no signs of disease progression was longer for people who received the medication than among patients who didn’t.
It is specifically prescribed for the treatment of somatostatin receptor-positive GEP-NETs (gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors), including midgut, foregut, and hindgut neuroendocrine tumors in adults.
Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors can be present in the pancreas and in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract, like – the intestines, stomach, colon, and rectum. Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are relatively rare and complex neoplasms which present numerous clinical challenges.
An estimated 1 in 27,000 people are diagnosed every year with this type of cancer. However, the most recent data from the US Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results show an increase of over 400 percent in the incidence of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors over a period of 29 years.
The treatment is given through a drip into the vein over the course of 60 minutes. Moreover, the patient will receive a fluid solution containing amino acids through another drip over four hours to protect the kidneys from the effect of radiation.
Side Effects And Precautions Of Lutathera
Common side effects may include:
- low levels of potassium in the blood;
- high levels of blood sugar;
- high levels of enzymes in certain organs;
- low levels of white blood cells.
Rare side effects may include:
- neuroendocrine hormonal crises (abnormal levels of hormones in the body);
- liver damage;
- kidney damage;
- development of leukemia and secondary myelodysplastic syndrome.
Individuals taking this radiopharmaceutical are exposed to radiation. Nevertheless, exposure of household members and medical personnel should be limited in accordance with radiation safety practices. Side effects related to the radiation therapy may include:
- increased pain due to inflammation of the tumor. This is typically limited to three days following therapy. A low dose of steroids will be prescribed to help reduce this, however, the patients may need to take usual pain drugs more regularly.
- possible vomiting and feeling sick – this usually only occurs on the day of the therapy.
- feeling tired for up to 21 days following the therapy. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how you can manage any tiredness after each cycle of therapy.
- minimal hair loss during the therapy, however, hair regrows after the therapy finishes.
- temporary increase in the intensity of some symptoms, like – sweating, flushing, palpitations, diarrhea, or wheezing. This is typically limited to one day following the therapy.
Since there are no conclusive clinical studies regarding the safe use of this radiopharmaceutical during pregnancy, if you are pregnant or plant to get pregnant do not use this medication. Also, women who are breastfeeding a baby should not be given treatment.
Cancer prevention – 6 Tips To Reduce Your Risk
#1 Limit Or Completely Avoid Processed Meats
Regularly eating large amounts of processed meat can increase the risk of certain types of cancer by about 38 percent, according to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Processed meat includes ham, hot dogs, chorizo, sausage, bacon, frankfurts, and devon.
Also, according to other studies, charred or burnt meat may considerably increase the risk of cancer because it contains heterocyclic amines, substances that are formed in foods which are cooked at high temperatures and charred or blackened.
#2 Don’t Use Tobacco
Using any type of tobacco (like smoking or second-hand smoking) puts you on a collision course with cancer, especially lung cancer. Moreover, smoking tobacco has been strongly associated with other types of cancer — including cancer of the throat, mouth, larynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and cervix.
#3 Avoid Environmental & Industrial Toxins
Avoid exposure to environmental and industrial toxins, like – benzene, asbestos fibers, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and aromatic amines.
#4 Healthy Sleeping Patterns
Sleep allows cells to repair damage and restore tissue. In addition, long-term sleep deprivation, as well as unhealthy sleeping patterns (less than 6 hours of sleep per night), hinders the natural processes of the glymphatic system affecting cognitive function. Aim for 7 to 8 hour of uninterrupted sleep.
Regular physical exercise has been strongly associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, and it may even help prevent colon cancer. More importantly, physical exercise appears to reduce a woman’s risk of reproductive and breast cancers. Also, don’t forget that any type of exercise activity will make you feel good and prevent depression, even if you don’t lose weight.
Having a regular diet of cancer-fighting nutrients is important to preventing and treating brain tumors. Foods with powerful cancer-fighting properties include turmeric, kale, oregano, ginger, apples, tomatoes, bell peppers, cayenne pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, olives, thyme, basil, garlic, red onions, red grapes, green tea, spinach, pineapples, and papaya.