Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in every 12 women in western countries, where it is the leading cause of cancer death in women. Because of the heterogeneity of disease that has been observed at clinical, biological and genetic levels, investigation of the mechanism of breast cancer development is difficult. Delineating this heterogeneity will give opportunities to gain further insight into the cellular mechanisms that lead to breast cancer. It will also be clinically helpful, aiding the development of diagnostic screening programmes for women at risk, and facilitating the estimation of prognosis and the design of rational therapies adjusted to specific subgroups.
In this review we summarize the current understanding of the functional role of somatostatin (SST) receptors (SSTRs) in human breast cancer cells. The distribution of SSTR subtypes, their relationship with the neuroendocrine differentiation of the cancers and genetic and patient characteristics, the role of in vivo SSTR visualization,