“Malignant neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are relatively rare, notoriously difficult to treat, and associated with poor long-term survival. According to research presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), an investigative blood test could predict how patients will respond to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) before they commit to a course of treatment.
“Cancerous NETs can develop in a variety of places where hormone signaling occurs between nerve cells and organs of the endocrine system, but the most common origins of these tumors are in the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs and the pancreas. These cancers sneak up on oncologists due to their rarity and the fact that symptoms such as flushing, diarrhea and sweating are often regarded as unrelated to disease and part of normal life events. Most cases are not caught until these tumors have already spread to other organs, making them difficult to treat with conventional means. A targeted treatment established in the early 2000s called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) zeros in on active peptide receptors that are over-expressed on the surface of NETs. The injected drug binds specifically to these receptors and knocks out tumors by irradiating them with a powerful dose of short-range radioactive material while sparing healthy tissues nearby.”
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