A Revolution in the Treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumors
Patients with neuroendocrine tumors have more treatment options than ever before.
PUBLISHED: AUGUST 09, 2017
RONNY ALLAN, a patient in the United Kingdom who was diagnosed with a metastatic NET in his small intestine in 2010, got his carcinoid syndrome symptoms under control with Somatuline. - COURTESY RONNY ALLAN
In May 2015, she joined a trial of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), an experimental treatment that combines a drug that binds to specific receptors on NETs with radiation and that is showing promise in patients with metastatic NETs.
Kaveney’s tumors started shrinking after just one dose and have stayed stable since then. Kaveney has no symptoms and says she’s thankful to be able to pursue an active lifestyle, complete with a daily walk, yoga and meditation. “My liver is functioning normally. My doctors say I could live 30 to 40 years with this,” Kaveney says. “I am very healthy. I like to help other patients. I tell them ‘you can live with this — it’s not the end of your life.’”
PRRT is one of several experimental approaches that is expected to expand the treatment options, and improve the prognosis, for many patients with NETs. Coupled with advances in imaging and surgery techniques, a growing selection of targeted drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are boosting survival times, says James Yao, M.D., a professor in the division of gastrointestinal medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “Before 2011, there were very few FDA-approved treatments for controlling NETs — that has completely changed,” Yao says. “Now we have a lot of options available.”
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