19 July 2019
Serotonin, a biologically active amine, is related to carcinoid syndrome in functioning neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Telotristat ethyl is a novel inhibitor of the tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), a key enzyme in the production of serotonin. While its use in patients with carcinoid syndrome and uncontrolled diarrhea under somatostatin analogs (SSAs) has been recently approved, in vitro data evaluating its effectiveness are lacking. For this reason, we aimed to evaluate the effect of telotristat as monotherapy, and in combination with SSAs, on proliferation and secretion in a NET cell line model. The human pancreatic NET cell lines BON-1/QGP-1 were used as 2D and 3D cultured models; somatostatin receptor and TPH mRNA expression, as well as the potential autocrine effect of serotonin on tumor cell proliferation using a 3D culture system were evaluated. Telotristat decreased serotonin production in a dose-dependent manner at a clinically feasible concentration, without affecting cell proliferation. Its combination with pasireotide, but not with octreotide, had an additive inhibitory effect on serotonin secretion. The effect of telotristat was slightly less potent, when BON-1 cells were co-treated with octreotide. Octreotide and pasireotide had no effect on the expression of TPH. Telotristat did not have an effect on mRNA expression of somatostatin receptor subtypes. Finally, we showed that serotonin did not have an autocrine effect on NET cell proliferation on the 3D cell model. These results suggest that telotristat is an effective drug for serotonin inhibition, but the effectiveness of its combination with SST<sub>2</sub> (somatostatin receptor subtype 2)-preferring SSA should be evaluated in more detail.