Understanding LUTATHERA®


LUTATHERA is the first approved medicine from a class of drugs called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). It is a prescription treatment for adults with a type of cancer known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). GEP-NETs are tumors of the neuroendocrine cells in the stomach, gut, or pancreas that make hormones, which may cause symptoms such as flushing and diarrhea. LUTATHERA targets somatostatin receptor-positive tumors.

How does LUTATHERA work?

LUTATHERA is a medicine that uses radiation to damage the cancer cells that are positive for the hormone receptor somatostatin.

It works differently than most other cancer medicines. It is given as an infusion in a hospital setting and is made up of 2 parts:

  1. A tumor-targeting part that binds to cancer cells that have somatostatin receptors
  2. Once it binds to the cancer cells, it goes into the cell and releases radiation, which then causes damage to the cancer cell and neighboring cells

What is nuclear medicine?

Nuclear medicine involves diagnosing and treating certain diseases, such as cancer, by delivering a dose of radiation through radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals to a tumor in specific parts of the body.

What are radiopharmaceuticals?

Radiopharmaceuticals are made from radioactive materials that release energy in the form of radiation. Radioactive materials occur naturally or can be man-made. Every radioactive material has its own half-life, which determines how quickly it stops being radioactive.

Radiopharmaceuticals can be given orally in pill form, intravenously through a vein, or via insertion into a cavity in the body.

When they are used to treat a disease such as cancer, the radiopharmaceutical releases its radioactive medicine to destroy the cancer cells after it reaches its destination in the body. The goal of radiopharmaceuticals is to target cancer cells while limiting the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

When radiopharmaceuticals are used to diagnose a disease, the drugs are known as tracers. By using special medical imaging systems, the doctor can see if a person has a disease.

In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and individual states regulate the use of the radioactive materials for nuclear medicine to ensure the safety of patients, care teams, and the general public. In addition, regulations require that radiopharmaceuticals can only be prepared by radiopharmacists and administered by nuclear medicine physicians or technologists. These are medical professionals who specialize in nuclear medicine.


LUTATHERA® (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with a type of cancer known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) that are positive for the hormone receptor somatostatin, including GEP-NETs in the foregut, midgut, and hindgut.

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