Somatostatin receptors (ssts) are expressed in thyroid cancer cells, but their biological significance is not well understood. The aim of this study was to assess ssts in well differentiated (WDTC) and poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (PDTC) by means of imaging and molecular tools and its relationship with the efficacy of somatostatin analog treatment. Thirty-nine cases of thyroid carcinoma were evaluated (20 PDTC and 19 WDTC). Depreotide scintigraphy and mRNA levels of sstsubtypes, including the truncated variant sst5TMD4, were carried out. Depreotide scans were positive in the recurrent tumor in the neck in 6 of 11 (54%) PDTC, and in those with lung metastases in 5/11 cases (45.4%); sst5TMD4 was present in 18/20 (90%) of PDTC, being the most densely expressed sst-subtype, with a 20-fold increase in relation to sst2. In WDTC, sst2 was the most represented, while sst5TMD4 was not found; sst2 was significantly increased in PDTC in comparison to WDTC. Five depreotide positive PDTC received octreotide for 3-6 months in a pilot study with no changes in the size of the lesions in 3 of them, and a significant increase in the pulmonary and cervical lesions in the other 2. All PDTC patients treated with octreotide showed high expression of sst5TMD4. ROC curve analysis demonstrated that only sst5TMD4 discriminates between PDTC and WDTC. We conclude that sst5TMD4 is overexpressed in PDTC and may be involved in the lack of response to somatostatin analogue treatment. © 2014 Puig-Domingo et al.