Efficacy of a Novel Second-Generation Somatostatin-Dopamine Chimera (TBR-065) in Human Medullary Thyroid Cancer: A Preclinical Study

Alessandra Dicitore, Maria Celeste Cantone, Germano Gaudenzi, Davide Saronni, Silvia Carra, Maria Orietta Borghi, Manuela Albertelli, Diego Ferone, Leo J. Hofland, Luca Persani, Giovanni Vitale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Somatostatin and dopamine (DA) receptors have a pivotal role in controlling hormone secretion and cell proliferation in different neuroendocrine neoplasms, including medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). In the present preclinical study, we evaluated the anti-tumor activity of TBR-065 (formerly BIM-23B065), a second-generation somatostatin-DA chimera, in 2 human MTC cell lines. Methods: The effects of lanreotide (LAN) and TBR-065 on cell growth and proliferation, calcitonin (CT) secretion, cell cycle, apoptosis, cell migration, and tumor-induced angiogenesis have been evaluated through 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, DNA flow cytometry with propidium iodide (PI), Annexin V-FITC/PI staining, electrochemiluminescence immuno assay, wound-healing assay, and zebrafish platform, respectively. Results: TBR-065 exerted a more prominent anti-tumor activity than LAN in both MTC cell lines, as shown by inhibition of cell proliferation (maximal inhibition in TT: -50.3 and -37.6%, respectively; in MZ-CRC-1: -58.8 and -27%, respectively) and migration (in TT: -42.7 and -22.9%, respectively; in MZ-CRC-1: -75.5 and -58.2%, respectively). Only the new chimera decreased significantly the fraction of cells in S phase (TT: -33.8%; MZ-CRC-1: -18.8%) and increased cells in G2/M phase (TT: +13%; MZ-CRC-1: +30.5%). In addition, TBR-065 exerted a more prominent pro-apoptotic effect than LAN in TT cells. A concomitant decrease in CT secretion was observed after 2 days of incubation with both drugs, with a more relevant effect of TBR-065. However, neither LAN nor TBR-065 showed any effect on tumor-induced angiogenesis, as evaluated using a zebrafish/tumor xenograft model. Discussion/Conclusion: In MTC cell lines, a second-generation somatostatin-DA analog, TBR-065, exerts a more relevant anti-tumor activity than LAN, through modulation of cell cycle, induction of apoptosis, and reduction in migration. Further studies are required to establish whether TBR-065 has comparable potent inhibitory effects on tumor growth in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-950
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported with an unconditional research grant from Ipsen.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.


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