Abstract: Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are a genetically diverse group of malignancies that sometimes produce peptides causing characteristic hormonal syndromes. NETs can be clinically symptomatic (functioning) or silent (non-functioning); both types frequently synthesise more than one peptide, although often these are not associated with specific syndromes. Based on data from various sources, the incidence and prevalence of NETs is increasing. The primary treatment goal for patients with NETs is curative, with symptom control and the limitation of tumour progression as secondary goals. 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. Patients therefore require chronic postoperative medical management with the aim of relieving symptoms and, in recent years, suppressing tumour growth and spread. Somatostatin analogues, such as octreotide long-acting repeatable (LAR), can improve the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome and stabilise tumour growth in many patients. Results from the PROMID study show that octreotide LAR 30mg is an effective antiproliferative treatment in patients with newly diagnosed, functionally active or inactive, well-differentiated metastatic midgut NETs. An antiproliferative effect can also be achieved with everolimus, and combination therapy with octreotide LAR has shown synergistic antiproliferative activity. In the future, pasireotide, the multi-receptor targeted somatostatin analogue, has the potential to be an effective therapy for de novo or octreotide-refractory carcinoid syndrome and for inhibiting tumour cell proliferation. Peptide receptor radiotherapy with yttrium-DOTATOC or lutetium-DOTATE is also a new interesting treatment option for NETs.
Copyright © 2011 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source: Department of Endocrine Oncology, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.