The fight against advanced cancer of the neuroendocrine system has received a major boost with the arrival of a novel therapy—a blend of powerful radionuclide treatment and chemotherapy drugs.
This was revealed by researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s 2014 Annual Meeting.
In a study carried out by the researchers, therapy involving this combination of drugs and radiology led to stabilization or regression of cancer in about 70 percent of the patients a year after completion of the treatment. Called peptide receptor chemo-radionuclide therapy (PRCRT), the therapy is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.
“For patients with progressive NETs with high somatostatin receptor expression PRCRT is a highly effective treatment option, our study shows” said Grace Kong, who led the project at the Centre for Cancer Imaging, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia.
The study involved a sample group of patients with NETs expressing somatostatin hormone receptors who had been through at least three rounds of treatment with Lutetium-177 DOTA-Octreotate, the standard medication for patients not fit for surgery. A large number of participants in this group were patients of grade-two disease, which is more aggressive and associated with adverse prognosis. Researchers added a radio-sensitizing chemotherapy for 63 out of the 68 patients in the study.
The results were extremely encouraging in a majority of subjects, with 72 percent survival at two years. More than half the patients were still alive past the five-year mark after therapy.