Treatment Options For Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors

November 21, 2019
Matthew Kulke, MD

Patients with neuroendocrine tumors have seen a slew of new treatment options, but experts believe these options need much more study before their promise is fully realized.

The treatment of patients with neuroendocrine tumors has seen many updates from new studies looking at controlling and shrinking the tumors patients have. While these updates prove promising for this patient population, choosing the right therapy is tricky for the cancer care team as most of these treatments have yet to be compared to one another, according to Matthew Kulke, MD.

Kulke, chief of hematology-oncology at the Boston University-Boston Medical Center, presented these updates at the 37th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York City, New York. Kulke also discussed the clinical significance of these treatment options and their challenges in an interview with OncLive®, a sister publication to Oncology Nursing News®.

TRANSCRIPTION

Exactly which therapy to give and when to give it remains really a very open question. One of the issues is that very few of these therapies have actually been compared against each other. So, for tumor control, at least, in most cases, we'll start with a somatostatin analog in both pancreatic tumors and carcinoid tumors.

We know somatostatin analogs slow tumor growth; we know they're very well tolerated so it's a very easy first-line treatment option. But beyond that, it gets tricky and you really have to weigh what is the anti-tumor activity or what's the response rate? How much do you need to shrink the tumor, versus how important is it to just control the tumor and prevent further tumor growth.