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Expert Shares Insight on Navigating Neuroendocrine Tumor Treatment

Caroline Seymour
Published: Friday, Apr 20, 2018

Paul R. Helft, MD

Paul R. Helft, MD
Since the FDA approval of Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) in January 2018, other treatments may take a backseat to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) for patients with gastroenteropancreatic (GEP)-neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), says Paul R. Helft, MD. The reason is that because Lutathera can concurrently treat multiple sites of disease, it could be the dominant therapy in this space.

State of the Science Summit™ on Gastrointestinal Cancers, Helft, professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, discussed the incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) NETs and available and emerging treatment methods.

OncLive: Can you provide an overview of your presentation on NETs?

Helft: NETs are a group of tumors that can originate from many organs within the body, but primarily originate from within the GI tract. The majority of them start in the small intestine, followed by the pancreas. Pancreatic NETs are sometimes described as a rare group of tumors, but because they tend to be slow growing, their prevalence in the United States isn’t quite as high.

Is there a subset of NETs that is more difficult to treat than other subtypes?

There are only a few thousand new cases of reported pancreatic NETs each year. It’s a relatively rare and unique type of tumor. They are often lumped in with carcinoid tumors of the small intestine, which are much more common. Although carcinoid tumors are at least 3 to 4 times more common than pancreatic NETs, they both present various challenges.
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