A neuroendocrine tumor (NETs) begins in the hormone-producing cells of the body’s neuroendocrine system, which is made up of cells that are a cross between traditional hormone-producing endocrine cells and nerve cells. Neuroendocrine tumours are a heterogeneous group including carcinoid, gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, pituitary tumours, medullary carcinoma of the thyroid and phaeochromocytomas. They have attracted much attention of researchers in recent years.
NETs can be clinically symptomatic (functioning) or silent (nonfunctioning). Based on data from various sources, the incidence and prevalence of NETs is increasing. The primary treatment goal for patients with NETs is curative. Surgery is the only possible curative approach and so represents the traditional first-line therapy. However, as most patients with NETs are diagnosed once metastases have occurred, curative surgery is generally not possible.
The researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s 2014 Annual Meeting had demonstrated that the novel therapy is packing a punch by uniting powerful radionuclide treatment and chemotherapy drugs. For this study, researchers observed patients who had undergone at least three courses of treatment with Lutetium-177 DOTA-Octreotate, which is prescribed for inoperable patients with NETs expressing somatostatin hormone receptors.
The clinical trials results had shown the stabilization or regression of patients’ cancer in about 70 percent of cases a year after completion of combined radionuclide-chemotherapy, now called peptide receptor chemo-radionuclide therapy (PRCRT).
“Results of this study suggest that PRCRT is a highly effective treatment option for patients with progressive NETs with high somatostatin receptor expression,” explained Grace Kong, principal investigator for this study (Melbourne, Australia).
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