The somatostatin analogue octreotide (SMS 201-995) inhibits secretion and growth of certain tumor cells, and current efforts are directed toward the elucidation of its mode of antiproliferative action. In this study, the effect of octreotide on the growth of ZR-75-1 human breast cancer cells has been characterized in immunodeficient nude mice and in cell culture. These results have been related to the expression of somatostatin receptors in vivo and in vitro. Continuous infusion of 10 µg/kg/h of octreotide yielded plasma levels of 5.7 ng/ml and elicited highly significant growth inhibitory effects on solid ZR-75-1 breast tumors in nude mice. After 2 and 4 weeks of treatment, tumor volumes in the octreotide group were 39.1 and 36.7% of those of control animals treated with vehicle, respectively. Autoradiographic studies demonstrated that 8 of 12 ZR-75-1 tumors studied were somatostatin receptor positive. When ZR-75-1 tumor cells were exposed in vitro to nanomolar concentrations of octreotide, a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth was observed in the presence of 5% fetal calf serum or under serum-free conditions using epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor type I, or insulin as growth stimulus. In parallel receptor-binding experiments, ZR-75-1 cells were shown to express specific high-affinity somatostatin receptors (Kd value = 0.9 nm, Bmax = 6000 sites/cell). From these experiments, we conclude that octreotide is a powerful inhibitor of ZR-75-1 tumor cell growth in nude mice and in culture. This inhibitory action of octreotide and the presence of somatostatin receptors on ZR-75-1 tumor cells in vitro and in vivo suggest a direct, somatostatin receptor-mediated effect of octreotide.

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