Histotripsy:  A new technique which destroys cancer using soundwaves (now in Clinical Trials)

Histotripsy: A new technique which destroys cancer using soundwaves (now in Clinical Trials)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Illustration of histotripsy technology. Image courtesy of Medicine at Michigan Magazine. A new technique that destroys cancer using soundwaves.  It also spurs the immune system to kill off any of the tumour left, scientists have revealed. The non-invasive treatment only needs to be partially effective to stop the cancer spreading.It is currently being tested on human liver cancers in the US and Europe following successful trials in rats. The team from the University of Michigan showed the non-invasive sound technology is able to prevent further spread with no evidence of recurrence or metastases in the majority of cases. The treatment, called histotripsy, noninvasively focuses ultrasound waves to mechanically destroy target tissue with millimetre precision. In many cases, the entirety of a cancerous tumour cannot be targeted directly in treatments due to…
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Electronic Autoinjector for Somatuline® Autogel® / Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide)

Electronic Autoinjector for Somatuline® Autogel® / Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide)

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Breaking News It doesn't seem that long since we got the new improved injection delivery system for the current model of Lanreotide.  I had to look at my blog articles for the announcement of that and was surprised it had already been 3 years.  It may be a shorter time period for many though, UK was near the front of that rollout.  I personally found the new injection a better experience and I know the nurses were happier too.  However, I also know there was some disappointment that the injection gauge and length were the same and therefore there was little change for many in terms of the 'experience'.  Speaking from a personal perspective, there was not sufficient change for me to consider moving to self-inject. I know (at least…
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Clinical Trial: Mycapssa® (octreotide capsules) for Neuroendocrine Tumours

Clinical Trial: Mycapssa® (octreotide capsules) for Neuroendocrine Tumours

Clinical Trials, Treatment
The delayed-release capsules contain 20mg of octreotide. The mainstay somatostatin analogues for Neuroendocrine Tumour patients are Lanreotide and Octreotide and I have blogged or mentioned them frequently, and they are probably two of the most written words in my private patient group ....... coupled with "injection" or "shot".  For years, people have talked about the need for different delivery systems including capsules and even nasal sprays.  Many patients have indicated a preference for an easier route into the system with similar efficacy.  I have been following a few of these initiatives in an article called "Somatostatin Analogues and delivery methods in the pipeline".  While generic somatostatin analogues have helped people and organisations with cost, these generics are still using injection delivery systems. Two diseases in particular have been benefitting for some…
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Clinical Trial: Testing the Use of Chemotherapy After Surgery for High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Clinical Trial: Testing the Use of Chemotherapy After Surgery for High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Clinical Trials, Treatment
An interesting trial centred on SW USA.   The use of CAPTEM following surgery in high-risk pancreatic NETs (G2/G3 well-differentiated).  Also includes the use of NETest at 3 time points, which is very interesting considering the recent withdrawal of Chromogranin A from US NET Guidelines.  (Read about NETest here). Randomized Phase II Trial of Postoperative Adjuvant Capecitabine and Temozolomide versus Observation in High-Risk Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (S2104) is a recently activated National Clinical Trials Network randomized phase II trial designed to compare CAPTEM chemotherapy versus observation following resection of pNETs (see Figure 2). Patients with well-differentiated grade 2 or 3 (Ki-67 up to 55%) pNETS with a Zaidi score of ≥3 who underwent resection (or ablation) for either localized disease with or without up to five liver metastases are eligible for…
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External Validation of a Clinical Score for Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors Under Consideration for Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy

External Validation of a Clinical Score for Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors Under Consideration for Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) has been around for a while and doctors are learning all the time about the most likely candidates. Selection of candidates and predictions on who will benefit most are still not an exact science (....and possibly never will be).  Neuroendocrine Neoplasms are a heterogenous grouping of cancers, and heterogeneity also includes (but is not limited to) age, stage, gender, functional/non-functional, and pre-existing condition constraints. All of this complicates the task of therapeutic decision-making and sequencing. The attached cohort study aims to bound the issue and describe a method of allocating a Clinical Score (CS) to assist doctors and patients in their decision-making. According to the lead author, the CS is the initial prognostic score to help NET patients anticipate expected benefit from PRRT and is…
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Clinical Trial: Lutathera and ASTX727 in Neuroendocrine Tumours (LANTana)

Clinical Trial: Lutathera and ASTX727 in Neuroendocrine Tumours (LANTana)

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Whenever I post about a new trial or study, some people get excited without understanding that these new treatments and capabilities can very often take years to come to fruition and it's also possible that clinical trials can be halted, or that national approval agencies will not approve the final product.  Please bear that in mind when reading studies/clinical trials posted on RonnyAllan.NET What is the aim of this clinical trial? The aim of this single location trial in Imperial College London is to determine whether pre-treatment with ASTX727 results in re-expression of SSTR2 in patients with metastatic NETs, using 68Ga-DOTA-TATE to image epigenetic modification of the SSTR2 locus allowing subsequent treatment with Lutathera(i.e. PRRT).  Patients entered into the study will receive ASTX727 orally up to 3 to 8 days…
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Blog review and top 10 for 2021:  RonnyAllan.NET

Blog review and top 10 for 2021: RonnyAllan.NET

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, General, Humour, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I should be happy with over a quarter of a million views in 2021 but I'm not!  Like 2020, my figures are down on previous years as the pandemic seems to have changed viewing habits, not to mention my own bandwidth during this period. I created my private Facebook group not that long before the pandemic started, and I think that has been playing a part as huge chunks of my time has been taken up on that special project.  I also changed the nature and the type of posts on my "Ronny Allan" Facebook page, which led to fewer outlets for my blog posts.  Hopefully, 2022 will be a better year. However, just as I was totally astonished to have been able to accumulate a million views of my…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Diarrhea- building the jigsaw: Bile Acid Malabsorption

Neuroendocrine Cancer Diarrhea- building the jigsaw: Bile Acid Malabsorption

Diet and Nutrition, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
With Neuroendocrine Cancer patients, the mention of "diarrhea" is a topical subject.  There's the usual claim that it's caused by carcinoid syndrome and for some that will be true, particularly people who have tumours associated with that syndrome, that is, those who have mostly a midgut primary; and that is, those who mostly have elevated levels of serotonin (via 5HIAA testing).  When you look at epidemiology data, it becomes clear the numbers associated with carcinoid syndrome are much lower than what might be perceived when analysing many comments in any patient group - most epidemiological data suggests around 10% of the total number of NET cases. There are a number of reasons for this confusion including the belief that any type of Neuroendocrine Cancer can get carcinoid syndrome when in fact…
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177Lu-DOTA-LM3 – a novel radionuclide therapy proven safe and effective to treat neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN)

177Lu-DOTA-LM3 – a novel radionuclide therapy proven safe and effective to treat neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
This is all the information available and further details to follow if any is published.  Remember, this is not yet an approved treatment, nor is it widely available.  Only ever used in experimental/compassionate situations. Not even entered the formal clinical trial system. So even if there was a plan to develop and deploy it (which as far as we know there isn't), and it gained approval, it would be some years before we see it.  Whenever I post about a new trial, some people get excited without understanding that these new treatments and capabilities can very often take years to come to fruition and it's also possible that clinical trials can be halted, or that national approval agencies will not approve the final product.  Please bear that in mind when…
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Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours:  “No other cancer really looks like this”

Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours: “No other cancer really looks like this”

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
It's known that Neuroendocrine Cancer is quite different in many ways from other cancers, notwithstanding the misnomer term carcinoid which is thankfully being slowly moved out of terminology.  As a few examples:It's a wide spectrum heterogeneous cancer group with indolent isolated small tumours at one end all the way across to extremely aggressive metastatic cases at the other end.It's a cancer type that can be syndromically functional or non-functional to add to diagnostic and management challenges.It's a cancer that can appear almost anywhere in the human body.One of it's less well-known traits is the ability to produce multiple primary tumours.  Most people might be thinking of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia at this point (a syndrome that predisposes the patient to multiple primary tumours in different organs).  However, I also mean multi-focal…
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20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Every year I cast my mind back to this time in 2010. Diagnosed on 26th July that year, I was in hospital from 8th - 26th November, an extended period due to complications.  At that point, I had been keeping my diagnosis within close family and friends and my manager at work.  People at work and my wider list of friends were probably wondering what was going on with me.  Cleary, I let my emotions slip by posting this on Facebook on 20th November 2010. Perhaps this was my way of opening up.  That was 11 days after the surgery, so I guess it took a while to feel almost normal. I had a big surgery! I had some issues along the way. But after 10 days I had got through…
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Do we need a new model for Carcinoid Crisis in NETs?

Do we need a new model for Carcinoid Crisis in NETs?

Treatment
(so called) Carcinoid Crisis is one thing that tends to raise concerns in patients and has been bubbling away in NET centres and in patient communities for many years.  One of the big problems I have found is trying to place boundaries on it in terms of which types of NET does it apply to.  My thinking was that surely it only applies to those tumours which were once described by that ancient misnomer "carcinoid" and yet you hear patients who clearly do not have a tumour that was once described as "carcinoid" talk about it, at least in terms of protection against it. Perhaps some of the confusion lies with the ancient misnomer term, another reason why we need to get rid of it.  Many texts I read describe it…
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A Trial to Assess Efficacy and Safety of Octreotide Subcutaneous Depot (CAM2029) in Patients With GEP-NET (SORENTO)

A Trial to Assess Efficacy and Safety of Octreotide Subcutaneous Depot (CAM2029) in Patients With GEP-NET (SORENTO)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Some of the key differences between Lanreotide and Octreotide long-acting are:1.  Octreotide long-acting needs constituting prior to administration - Lanreotide comes prefilled. 2. Octreotide long-acting is administered intra-muscular, Lanreotide is deep subcutaneous. 3.  I probably should add Octreotide LAR cannot be self-injected but Lanreotide can.  I suspect this type of delivery system may open up that possibility for Octreotide LAR. So, this clinical trial caught my eye.  A version of octreotide long-acting which is prefilled and given subcutaneously.  Plus, the manufacturers say it has a much higher bioavailability than the standard product Sandostatin LAR (bioavailability is the proportion of a drug or other substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect).CAM2029 might therefore be considered a generic of Sandostatin LAR but better…
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CAR-T clinical trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

CAR-T clinical trials for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Treatment
What is CAR-T?CAR-T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – therapy is specifically developed for each individual patient and involves reprogramming the patient’s own immune system cells which are then used to target their cancer., i.e. it's an immunotherapy. It is a highly complex and potentially risky treatment, but it has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with quite advanced cancers and where other available treatments have failed.The treatment involves several steps over a number of weeks. First the patient’s blood is taken and is sent off to the manufacturer’s laboratory. Here the patient’s blood is ‘trained’ to fight the cancer cells. The CAR-T blood is then transported back to the hospital and the patient is administered with the CAR-T to treat their condition.It has not been deployed in…
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In the land of small tumours, there is still a lot of work to do!

In the land of small tumours, there is still a lot of work to do!

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
I like reading the words of Dr Mark Lewis, an Oncologist and a Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) patient himself (with MEN1).  He always delivers with "enthusiastic vigour", a term he reduces to "brio" which I then googled!His article as usual sets a scene and he has form for looking back in the history of NETs. I'm sure he does this as it can often illustrate just how much clinical progress has been made since way back then. And that is the purpose of the recent article entitled "Continuing the Odyssey in the Land of Small Tumors".  He quotes from a 1987 article written by Dr Charles Moertel entitled "An Odyssey in the Land of Small Tumors" and I suspect he selected this article from Dr Moertel as he too writes with "brio"."Patients…
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Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Neuroendocrine Tumors: Targeted Therapies – Update from NET Specialist Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – August 2021

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Background.  For those who want a quick run through of Neuroendocrine Tumors from diagnosis to selection of treatment, about the treatments themselves plus what is the Future Directions in the Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors.  There are 8 episodes, and each is around 3-5 minutes long. I personally found them very useful and in a language understandable to patients. Great job by OncLive and Dr Reidy-Lagunes!  Episode 1 - Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors Diane Reidy-Lagunes, MD, provides an overview of neuroendocrine tumors, along with specific considerations for optimal diagnosis and prognostication. Understanding the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Neuroendocrine Tumors (onclive.com) Episode 2 - Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis and Molecular Testing Expert insight on the pathogenesis of neuroendocrine tumors and the best use of molecular testing to inform treatment decisions.Neuroendocrine Tumor Pathogenesis…
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Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NETs): To cut or not to cut?

Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NETs): To cut or not to cut?

Treatment
Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumours (SI NET) are one of the most common types of Neuroendocrine Cancer, and also one of the most challenging to diagnose and then treat. Patients can have a very good outlook even when presenting with metastatic disease.  However, it's true to say that some NET centres of excellence (CoE) or multi-disciplinary team (MDT) see a lot of SI NET patients have built up considerable experience in treating them, including the use of surgery.  The surgical challenges are such that a surgeon not experienced in treating these cases may shy away or think they are inoperable, whereas MDTs or CoEs potentially have the experience available to operate or to make sound judgements based on their own experience.  At the very least, they can offer a second opinion. …
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Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Newsletters, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I always try to use graphics for a number of pictures, I admit mainly to catch people's attention but also because sometimes a picture on its own tells a story or at least provides a great introduction to one. If the picture catches your eye, clicking on will take you to the text.  This post will auto update as new blogs are published. thanks for reading and sharing! Scroll, point, click, read, share! Click here and answer all questions to join my private Facebook group Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Thanks for reading. Ronny I’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. Help me build up my new site here –…
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Generic Somatostatin Analogues for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Generic Somatostatin Analogues for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Treatment
Updated 18th December 2021 News just in..... the first generic version of Somatuline Depot (Lanreotide) in the US has been approved for marketing by the US FDA according to a press release from the company Cipla. This can often lead to price reductions, but I have no details other than what I published in my generic somatostatin analogues blog post attached. The active ingredient, route of administration and strengths are the same as SOMATULINE DEPOT®, from Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals Inc.  See the Lanreotide section below. I've covered a lot about somatostatin analogues, particularly the two predominant approved drugs Lanreotide and Octreotide.  Recently I read about generic drugs and found there are some for octreotide and as at Jul 2021, at least one for Lanreotide.  I was concerned to hear a patient asking a…
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Treatment for Neuroendocrine Cancer – a summary for patients

Treatment for Neuroendocrine Cancer – a summary for patients

Treatment
ScopeThis summary provides an overview of the types of therapy known for treating Neuroendocrine Cancer. They will have been approved at least by one national or regional approval agency, may not be available or approved in your own country; and may appear in clinical guidelines for the treatment of Neuroendocrine Cancer.Clinical trials will not be covered, although it's noted that some of the approved treatments listed may be in follow on trials either to prove new coverage or used in combination with another drug.  For a list of clinical trials covered by the author, click here. This summary will not include complementary or alternative treatment but may cover or overlap with experimental treatment.          Who recommends the best treatment for my condition? Different types of doctors often work together to create a…
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My treatment is a pain in the butt!

My treatment is a pain in the butt!

Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email The post header is a bit ‘tongue in cheek’ (…. did you see what I did there?)  I’m very happy to have this treatment every 4 weeks – I can think of far worse scenarios. When I was first diagnosed, the dreaded word ‘Chemo‘ was discussed.  Chemo isn’t particularly effective in treating the lower grades of Neuroendocrine Cancer but it is used extensively at high grade and often in Grade 2 showing more effectiveness in pancreatic NETs.  Looking back though, my Oncologist may have meant in conjunction with a liver embolization (i.e. TACE) on the basis this was scheduled once in June 2011 following liver surgery. Prior to my diagnosis,…
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Neuroendocrine Tumours – now you see them, now you don’t!

Neuroendocrine Tumours – now you see them, now you don’t!

Treatment
In my post entitled "If you can see it, you can detect it", I listed the different types of scanning techniques and technology to find evidence of disease in Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs).  Of course, while scans, blood and (current) marker tests can give some pretty big and important clues, "tissue is the issue" to determine type.Even after formal diagnosis, seeing all the tumours can be a challenge with NETs.  In the article I quoted above, I indicated that scans for NETs can be analogous to picking 'horses for courses'. For example, most NETs have somatostatin receptors and can often be seen better on functional scans e.g. somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS) or somatostatin receptor PET (SSTR-PET), combined with the use of radionuclides designed specifically for this purpose e.g. In111, Tc99m, Ga68,…
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Selecting patients and the Challenges of Evaluating Response to PRRT in GEPNETs: The Present and the Future

Selecting patients and the Challenges of Evaluating Response to PRRT in GEPNETs: The Present and the Future

Clinical Trials, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Fascinating article from the Italian NET scientific community.  This article is more than just what the title says, it provides overviews on many facets of NETs including markers, scans and PRRT itself. It covers how to select patients for PRRT in the first place, i.e. who is most likely to get a good response to this treatment and then look at how to track and assess that response. The important thing I gathered from reading is that none of this is a precise science, there are too many variables.  And while this article focusses on the clinical factors, there can of course be non-clinical factors in play in different countries…
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Lanreotide:  Eleven more years please!

Lanreotide: Eleven more years please!

Inspiration, Treatment
Back in February 2015, I wrote an article called "Four more years" and the title came from an election campaign happening at the time when I had been on Lanreotide for approximately four years.  Inspired by this campaign slogan, I too wanted four more years and crafted the blog post. However, I was underselling myself as I've now hit 11 years of Lanreotide on 9th December 2021.  On that day in 2010, I was still recovering from major surgery and hadn't had any somatostatin analogues since leaving hospital on 26th Nov.  Prior to surgery, I had been taking daily shots of Octreotide which did have the effect of reducing the symptoms of (so called) carcinoid syndrome.  I was also administered peri-operative octreotide to de-risk the chances of a hormonal crisis…
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Clinical Trial: Phase II CLARINET FORTE Somatuline Autogel (Lanreotide) increased dosing frequency

Clinical Trial: Phase II CLARINET FORTE Somatuline Autogel (Lanreotide) increased dosing frequency

Clinical Trials, Treatment
CLARINET FORTE is a prospective single-arm, open-label, exploratory, international Phase II study to explore the efficacy and safety of an increased Somatuline® Autogel® (lanreotide) dosing frequency (120 mg every 14 days) in patients with metastatic or locally advanced unresectable pancreatic NETs or midgut NETs, with centrally-accessed progression within the last two years while on a standard lanreotide regimen (120 mg every 28 days) for more than 24 weeks.Data announced in September 2020 at the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), indicated the phase 2 results support a clinically meaningful benefit to a population of patients with high unmet medical need by potentially delaying escalation to more toxic treatments. This means patients with progressive NETs are able to remain on a more tolerable first-line standard of care for longer,” said Professor…
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Small intestine, large surgery

Small intestine, large surgery

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
My own experienceAt my diagnostic consultation, the Oncologist told me I had Stage 4 metastatic Small Intestine NET (SI NET). He also told me that surgery would almost definitely be on the cards and would be referring me to an experienced surgeon in a different hospital for assessment. I was assured this surgeon was one of the most experienced in the south of England for NETs. This was before the current multi-disciplinary team was set up, but it did all seem so very organised and I felt comfortable, albeit apprehensive. Worth pointing out that surgery is not normally offered in cancer at Stage 4 but the slow-growing nature of most NETs allows for some leeway here.  Statistics indicate that around 50% of SI NET present as metastatic cases, I'd like…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Sunitinib (Sutent)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Click here to see the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Sunitinib (Sutent)? Manufactured by Pfizer, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).  You may also see it described as an anti-angiogenic agent on the basis that these tumor types are highly vascularized and show high expression of something called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key driver of angiogenesis in neuroendocrine tumors. Because NETs are generally hypervascularized tumors, treatment with antiangiogenic drugs seems a rational approach. A complex process but in the simplest of terms, sunitinib blocks a particular enzyme and keeps tumors from making their own blood vessels, which are needed to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to help them survive and grow. In clinical trials, SUTENT was…
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Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Targeted Therapy for Neuroendocrine Cancer – Everolimus (Afinitor)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Click picture to read the A to Z of Neuroendocrine Cancer What is Everolimus (Afinitor)? Manufactured by Novartis, this is a targeted biological therapy or more accurately, a mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor. It works by stopping some of the signals within cells that make them grow and divide. Everolimus stops a particular protein called mTOR from working properly. mTOR controls other proteins that trigger cancer cells to grow. So everolimus helps to stop the cancer growing or may slow it down.  The drug is also approved for Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) and hormone-receptor-positive advanced Breast Cancer.The drug is administered in oral form (tablet). The recommended dose for AFINITOR® (everolimus) Tablets is one 10-mg tablet once daily but lower doses of 7.5-mg tablets, 5-mg tablets, and 2.5-mg tablets are…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Surgery 3: my distant lymph nodes

Neuroendocrine Cancer Surgery 3: my distant lymph nodes

Treatment
"An unusual disposition of tumours"A fairly common disposition of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms is a primary with associated local/regional secondary's (e.g. lymph nodes), and often with liver metastases for late diagnoses. Apart from the primary tumour invading nearby tissue/organs, the most common spread is the lymph nodes, these can take you from a localised Stage 1 to loco-regional Stages 2 and 3. Often the term distant spread infers metastatic disease (stage 4) to the liver, but I had some lymph nodes 'misbehaving' much further away than that. After my first nuclear scan (In-111 Octreoscan) during my diagnostic workup in Jul-Aug 2010, two areas lit up - left axillary nodes (armpit) and left supraclavicular fossa (SCF) nodes (clavicle). However, my MDT remained focussed on my primary and liver metastasis as this was where…
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COVID-19 and Cancer Treatment and Surveillance

COVID-19 and Cancer Treatment and Surveillance

Patient Advocacy, Treatment
This post was generated at the height of the pandemic and is not medical advice, moreover, it should not be considered up to date.  For the latest information for your cancer in regard COVID RISKS and VACCINES, please speak directly to your specialist doctor or follow your national health organisation’s guidance. NEW CONTENT added 14th June 2020.For US patients - see the recently produced NANETS guidelines which provides guidance on the following:How is treatment for patients with NET/NECs likely to change during the COVID-19 outbreak?What should providers do to prepare their clinic for patients?Should octreotide or lanreotide be delayed or stopped in NET?Surgery: Can/should surgery be canceled or delayed?Liver-directed therapy: Should liver embolization be performed? Is one modality preferable to another in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak?Lutetium Lu177 DOTATATE…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer – Liver directed therapy

Neuroendocrine Cancer – Liver directed therapy

Treatment
Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs) present complex challenges to diagnosis and treatment. Even in metastatic cases spreading to the liver, there are some important differences compared to the more common types of gastrointestinal tumours and pancreatic adenocarcinomas, e.g. their sometimes indolent nature and their ability to oversecrete hormones causing distinct clinical syndromes. Also, the tumours are known to be highly vascular which is a feature where growth inhibition and symptom relief may be achieved by specific 'blocking' agents - this is particularly the case with liver metastases in well-differentiated Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs).Spread to the liver may occur from NETs of the foregut, midgut as well as hindgut. NET metastases are usually multiple and of varying size. In most cases, both liver lobes are affected, but widespread (miliary) seeding throughout the liver is…
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Surufatinib for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Surufatinib for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Treatment
UPDATE 2nd May 2022. US FDA did not approve. Commentary from Healthcare New company Global Data. "On 2 May, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected HUTCHMED’s new drug application (NDA) for its lead candidate, Sulanda (surufatinib), for the treatment of advanced neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Issues pertaining to trial populations were raised in a complete response letter (CRL) and GlobalData expects this case to have wide implications for the whole field of oncology therapeutics. China-based HUTCHMED received approval for its multi-receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sulanda in China for the treatment of pancreatic and extra-pancreatic NETs in June last year and December 2020, respectively. Following the submission to Chinese authorities, NDAs were also submitted to the FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA). Two large Phase III studies formed the basis…
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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours – to cut or not to cut

Treatment
Background I've written before about pancreatic NETs (pNETs), much of which has been on the awareness side of my advocacy work, particularly emphasising the differences with core Pancreatic Cancer (adenocarcinoma).Pancreatic NETs are quite difficult to diagnose and treat, some of that difficulty is due to the location of the pancreas and accessibility for surgeons and radiographers. It's not helped by the fact that most pNETs are non-functional, making diagnosis more difficult as there is little clinical suspicion to scan, but also results in more late diagnoses.Although biopsies are possible, mainly via endoscopic ultrasound or laparoscopy, it can still be difficult to reach.  In some cases, biopsies are not done until after surgical removal of tumours. The latter scenario plus surgery after a positive biopsy result does present an increased risk of…
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Proton Pump Inhibitors (…..and H2 Blockers) the NET Effect

Proton Pump Inhibitors (…..and H2 Blockers) the NET Effect

Treatment
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the production of acid by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. Acid is necessary for the formation of most ulcers in the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum, and the reduction of acid with PPIs prevents ulcers and allows any ulcers that exist in the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum to heal. PPIs are prescribed to treat acid-related conditions such as:Esophageal, duodenal and stomach ulcersNSAID-associated ulcerUlcersGastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome - ZES (note this is a syndrome associated with a functioning duodenal or pancreatic NET known as a Gastrinoma)They also are used in combination with antibiotics for eradicating Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that together with acid causes ulcers of the stomach and duodenum for eradicating H. pylori, a bacterium that together with…
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Clinical Trial SPARTALIZUMAB  – Immunotherapy for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (PDR001)

Clinical Trial SPARTALIZUMAB – Immunotherapy for Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (PDR001)

Clinical Trials, Treatment
PDR001 (anti-PD-1) is an investigational immunotherapy being developed by Novartis to treat both solid tumors and lymphomas (cancers of the blood).  It is currently being trialled on many cancers including Neuroendocrine.  It's brand name is SPARTLIZUMAB. How PDR001 works PDR001 is a type of immunotherapy, meaning that it acts by activating the body’s own immune system to recognize and fight cancer cells. Normally, an immune system cell called T-cells recognizes and kills infected or abnormal cells, including those that are cancerous. To prevent T-cells from accidentally damaging healthy and essential tissues, however several immune system checkpoints exist to inhibit, or block, them from going about this work. One example is the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) pathway. Healthy cells produce and display a protein called programmed cell death ligand-1 or…
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Q-Sphera™ – Next Generation Somatostatin Analogue delivery system?

Q-Sphera™ – Next Generation Somatostatin Analogue delivery system?

Clinical Trials, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email UPDATE: In March 2020, the decision was taken to terminate further in-house development of the MTD201 programme with immediate effect although the asset remains available for licensing. All activities connected with MTD201 have been wound down expeditiously and the manufacturing facilities in Bilbao have been closed. Following the termination of in-house development of MTD201, the Company realigned its strategy towards exploiting its Q-Sphera technology more broadly.Original Article belowIn my article listing the somatostatin analogues and their drug delivery systems pipeline (click here), there has been a very interesting development in a product called Q-Sphera (was previously known as Q-Octreotide).  In a press release, it was announced that an unnamed 'pharma giant'…
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Detectnet™ (64Cu-DOTATATE) – an expansion of the Somatostatin Receptor PET Imaging for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Detectnet™ (64Cu-DOTATATE) – an expansion of the Somatostatin Receptor PET Imaging for Neuroendocrine Cancer

Clinical Trials, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
Edit 21st January 2021.  The imaging time window of 64Cu-DOTATATE positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms can be expanded from one hour to three hours post-injection, according to new research published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.  Read more here Edit 4th September 2020.  64Cu-dotatate now named Detectnet™ is approved for use by US FDA. Majority read revealed Detectnet had over 98% accuracy, 100% sensitivity, and over 96% specificity to confirm or exclude presence of disease. Read more here.  Edit 14th July 2020.  Expanded Access Program via clinical trial now recruiting - see below.  The objective of this trial is to provide patients with confirmed or suspicion of NET access to Copper Cu 64 Dotatate for the detection, localization, and monitoring of…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
This is not my personal scan When I was offered my very first Ga68 PET/CT at a 6 monthly surveillance meeting in May 2018, I was both excited and apprehensive. Let me explain below why I had a mix of emotions. You can read about my Ga68 PET experience here. I was diagnosed in 2010 with metastatic NETs clearly showing on CT scan, the staging was confirmed via an Octreotide Scan which in addition pointed out two further deposits above the diaphragm (one of which has since been dealt with). In addition to routine surveillance via CT scan, I had two further Octreotide Scans in 2011 and 2013 following 3 surgeries, these confirmed the surveillance CT findings of the remnant disease. The third scan in 2013 highlighted an additional lesion…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
What happened to me?Since I was diagnosed in 2010, I've always known I've had a fibrosis issue in the retroperitoneal area, as it was actually identified on my very first CT Scan, which triggered my diagnosis.  Here's how the radiologist described it - "There is a rind of abnormal tissue surrounding the aorta extending distally from below the renal vessels. This measures up to 15mm in thickness".  He went on to describe that "almost certainly malignant".  The second and third scans would go on to describe as "retroperitoneal fibrosis" and "a plaque-like substance".  Interestingly the fibrosis itself does not appear to 'light up' on nuclear scans indicating it was not cancerous (see below).I really didn't know what to make of this issue at diagnosis, although I did know the aorta…
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All you need to know about Somatostatin Receptor PET/CT Scans for Neuroendocrine Tumours

All you need to know about Somatostatin Receptor PET/CT Scans for Neuroendocrine Tumours

Treatment
Cancer is a growth industry ...literally! More people are being diagnosed than ever before. Fortunately, more people are surviving than ever before. This is against a backdrop of better awareness, better screening in the big population cancers, and to a certain extent better diagnostic tools, all of which is leading to earlier diagnosis.So how does this affect Neuroendocrine Cancer?According to the latest SEER database figures for Neuroendocrine Cancer, one reason for the 7 fold increase in incidence rates since the 1970s is all of those things above including better diagnostics. This has led to a revised set of epidemiological information in many countries that have made the effort to accurately update their cancer registries and there are consistent reports of incidence rates way beyond the recognised rare thresholds. Another piece…
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Sapanisertib – a drug on trial for Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET) with a pancreatic primary

Sapanisertib – a drug on trial for Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET) with a pancreatic primary

Clinical Trials, Treatment
Researchers are testing the drug Sapanisertib to see if it can halt the progression of pancreatic NETs (pNETs) which cannot be surgically removed, have not responded to other treatment, and have spread to other parts of the body. What is Sapanisertib? Sapanisertib is one of a group of targeted therapy drugs that interferes with tumor progression by inhibiting an enzyme known as mTOR which a tumor cell needs for growth.  In fact this is the same technique used in Afinitor (Everolimus), already approved for NETs. It is also being tested in a number of different advanced cancers, including bladder, kidney, breast, liver, and certain types of lung cancers, among others. The Clinical Trial The primary goal of the phase II study is to evaluate how well pNET tumors respond to Sapanisertib.…
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Don’t be underactive with your Thyroid surveillance

Don’t be underactive with your Thyroid surveillance

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
From other posts, you'll be aware of the thyroid lesion (approx. 17 x 19mm) which I've been tracking since 2013. The surveillance included routine thyroid blood tests, mainly TSH, T3 and 4. I was out of range in TSH (elevated) but the T4 was at the lower end of the normal range.  On 20 March 2018, following an Endocrine appointment, I was put on a trial dose of 50mcg of Levothyroxine to counter the downwards trend in results indicating hypothyroidism, possibly due to the lesion. Levothyroxine is a thyroid hormone (thyroxine) replacement.  One month after taking these drugs, my thyroid blood levels are now normal for the first time in 4 years (since there are records of test results - it might be longer).[caption id="attachment_16877" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Click on the…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Clinical Trial: Advanced Oncology Formula enterade®

Neuroendocrine Cancer Clinical Trial: Advanced Oncology Formula enterade®

Diet and Nutrition, Treatment
Diarrhea is a huge subject for NET patients, whether it's caused by the tumor itself (i.e. a syndrome), due to treatment, knock on effects of treatment, or some other reason, it can dramatically limit qualify of life.  Working out the root cause can be problematic even for medical teams. I wrote about these issues before in my article Neuroendocrine Cancer - the diarrhea jigsaw. So when I saw the data from a trial of something called enterade®, I was immediately drawn to investigate.  I don't normally write articles on over the counter commercial products but this one is an exception given that it has been classed as a medical food since 2012 and is also used to rehydrate patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer (so not just for NETs).…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Neuroendocrine Cancer and Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy (PERT) – the Digested Version (Nutrition Series Article 5)

Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
After 7 years of avoiding pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), I finally asked for some on a trial basis at the end of 2017.  To be honest, for some time, I thought they were really only needed in the NET world for those with pancreatic issues (pNETs).  I've always known I've had some digestive issues related to malabsorption. However, I'm not losing weight - this has been stable for some years (but see below).  Plus my key vitamin levels (B12 and D) are in range.  However, I had been struggling with a lot of bloating issues, thus the trial.  You know me, I like to research and analyse such things! I've actually written about a lot of these issues in my Nutrition series ..... so this is now 'Article Number…
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Update:  Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors

Update: Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
This is an excellent and positive video based overview of where we are with the Management of NETs.  This is a presentation from a NET Specialist (who some of you may know) presenting to a "GI Malignancies" conference.  This is therefore not only awareness of NETs, it's also some good education for non NET GI experts who may only know the very basics. Useful for patients too!  I met Dr Strosberg in Barcelona (ENETS 2017) and thanked him for his presentational and scientific paper output which I often use in my articles. The classification picture is good as it explains the different facets of NETs and how NETs are classified and categorised in a general way - not seen it done this way before.   Slightly out of date as…
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Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer – the 7 Year Itch

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer – the 7 Year Itch

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Treatment
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email I quite like the Facebook memory thing. This morning I got a reminder of a post I made from 7 years ago whilst I was in hospital recovering from my 9 Nov surgery.  It had taken 12 days for me to feel strong enough to venture onto social media with a simple message "I'm feeling perkier".  For those not familiar with English localisms, it just means lively, spirited, bright, sunny, cheerful, animated, upbeat, buoyant, bubbly, cheery, bouncy, genial, jaunty, chirpy, sprightly, vivacious, in fine fettle, full of beans, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I guess I met some of these descriptors most of the time! I had gotten through the worst and…
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Round up of NANETS 2017 – Let’s talk about NETs #NANETS2017

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
NANETS (North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society) is one of the biggest NET conferences, bringing together NET Specialists from around the world to discuss state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies, and ongoing controversies in the field of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (Tumors and Carcinomas). This is fairly complex stuff but much of it will be familiar to many. I’ve filtered out several outputs from the conference which I think are both relevant and topical to patients. The list is below allowing you to easily peruse and read further via linkages if you need to read more.  Remember, some of these are extracts so do not contain all the details of the research or study – although some of the linkages will take you to in-depth information if that’s your bag. Where applicable, I’ve also linked…
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Opinion: Neuroendocrine Cancer – Can it be cured?

Opinion: Neuroendocrine Cancer – Can it be cured?

Awareness, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
OPINION:"Cured" - In cancer, this word can evoke a number of emotions. Interestingly, not all these emotions will be as positive as you might think. If you want to spark a heated debate on a Neuroendocrine Cancer patient forum, just mention that you've been cured. I'm not taking any sides by using this statement, just stating what actually happens and the deeply held views that persist in community groups. One important factor in some of this thinking is that many people still remember the days where most diagnoses were late and many followed years of misdiagnoses for other conditions. But the latest statistics (and even these can be said to be quite old) indicate things are changing. The massive increase in incidence rates indicates earlier diagnoses and it's true for…
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The shock effect never wears off

The shock effect never wears off

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
Patient stories are key to any awareness campaign.  Nothing like a human being standing up and letting you know about their experience.  Many are positive examples of how they are overcoming their trials and tribulations, others tell stories of a struggle. They all have different styles, some are the 'kick ass' type stories, some are just thankful, some are reflective - all of them are perfectly acceptable. I normally like to place myself somewhere in the middle with phrases like "I'm still here", although I can veer left and right when the mood takes me! Because of my social media footprint, I get a lot of private messages from people across the globe. Many are from people who have no wish to go public and that's fine. Many are from…
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Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
[caption id="attachment_11078" align="alignleft" width="150"] As featured by Cure Magazine[/caption][caption id="attachment_4318" align="aligncenter" width="500"] It's about others too[/caption]Since my diagnosis of incurable and metastatic neuroendocrine cancer in 2010, it's really all been about me. I didn’t see the trauma coming, and my family has supported me throughout every single step. I really don’t want to be the focus of attention as that mantle was normally evenly distributed. However, there’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to put you into the spotlight.Facing an uncertain future with regular scans, injections, treatment, pills, examinations and blood tests has made me the center of attention, whether I like it or not. The focus is on me because these things are necessary to keep me alive for as long as possible and also because I live with the…
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