Everolimus (Affinitor) Improves Survival in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

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Peruvian Paso horses, Lima ChinaPancreatic neuroendocrine tumors affect the hormone-producing tissues within the pancreas, and have an incidence rate, affecting only 2 to 4 people per million worldwide.  

The incidence, however, is rising, and has quadrupled in the past 30 years, according to data from the National Cancer Institute. The most common treatment is surgery but patients who are not suitable candidates; chemotherapy (streptozocin (Zanosar), anthracyclines, and fluoropyrimidines) has been the mainstay of treatment. 

Earlier this year, Sunitib (Sutent) has been showed to be the first targeted agent to improve the survival for this rare cancer.  

Recently, another targeted agent, everolimus (Affinitor) has also been shown to increased survival without any disease in a phase 3 trial of 410 patients.  The results were reported at the 12th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain. 

The results confirmed that everolimus increased survival without any disease to 11 months, compared with 4.6 months for placebo and best supportive care. 

This is similar to the improvement in survival seen with sunitinib that was reported earlier. 

In the past, treatment for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors has been constrained by limited treatment options (with the use of hormonal treatment, octreotide (Sandostatin), being the primary therapeutic approach) and the minimal efficacy of chemotherapies.  This study indicated that targeted agents such as everolimus can be a new option with lower toxicity and the convenience of oral dosing. 

Source: 12th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer: Abstracts O-0028 and O-0009. Presented on June 30, 2010

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