“Since its FDA approval in 2014, the somatostatin analog lanreotide (Somatuline Depot) has been creating fresh options for select patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), given the significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) demonstrated in this population.
“Now, investigators are examining the potential that the agent could have in patients with lung NETs—an area that is greatly lacking in research— in a potentially practice-changing clinical trial that seeks to determine the role of the synthetic growth inhibitory hormone in patients with the rare tumor type. Thus far, no prospective trials specifically for patients with lung NETs have been reported, researchers have noted.”
“Everolimus (Afinitor) has received a positive recommendation from the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) as a treatment for patients with progressive, unresectable or metastatic, well-differentiated nonfunctional gastrointestinal (GI) or lung neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).
“The positive opinion suggests the mTOR inhibitor everolimus is likely to be approved in this setting when the European Commission issues its final decision.
“CHMP based its recommendation on data from the phase III RADIANT-4 trial. In the study, median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11 months with everolimus versus 3.9 months with placebo, representing a 52% reduction in the risk of progression or death (HR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.35-0.67; P <.00001).”
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“Everolimus (Afinitor) is now approved for treating inoperable, locally advanced or metastatic neuroendocrine tumors of gastrointestinal or lung origin, the FDA said Friday.
“The agency further specified that the tumors should be ‘progressive, well-differentiated [and] non-functional.’
“Approval was based primarily on a 302-patient trial comparing everolimus with placebo, both in combination with best supportive care. Median progression-free survival was 11 months in the active-drug arm compared with 3.9 months for placebo. However, in an interim analysis, there was no difference in overall survival, and response rates (i.e., achieving significant tumor shrinkage) were 2% with everolimus and 1% with placebo.”
“Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) develop in the neuroendocrine system, responsible for producing the hormones that regulate the working of different organs in the body. They are rare, incurable, and treatments for them are limited, especially once they have become advanced. Now an international team of researchers has shown that the use of the mTOR inhibitor, everolimus, can delay tumour growth among both gastrointestinal and lung NETs. This is particularly important for patients with the lung tumours, the researchers say, because there is currently no approved treatment for such cases.
“Reporting on the results of the RADIANT-4 trial, a placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase III study carried out in centres in 13 European countries, Korea, Japan, Canada, and the US, Professor James Yao, MD, Chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, will tell the 2015 European Cancer Congress today (Sunday) that the treatment had a significant effect in non-functional NETs. Non-functional NETs either do not secret a hormone, or secrete one that does not cause symptoms, and are therefore often diagnosed later when the cancer has become advanced. ‘About 80% of all NETs are thought to be non-functional, so, unfortunately, late diagnosis is common and poses a major problem for these patients,’ he will say.”
“In an international Phase III randomized study, everolimus, an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), has shown to dramatically improve progression-free survival for patients with advanced, nonfunctional neuroendocrine tumors (NET) of the lung and gastrointestinal tract.
“James C. Yao, M.D., professor and chair, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, presented the findings today in Vienna, Austria during the presidential session of the European Cancer Congress, co-sponsored by the European Cancer Organisation and European Society for Medical Oncology.
“NETs develop from cells in the neuroendocrine system, which is responsible for producing specific hormones that regulate the functions of different organs in the body. NETs can be slow-growing or aggressive, and are found most commonly in the lungs or gastrointestinal system. Nonfuctional NETs are those that do not secrete a hormone. About 80 percent of all NETs are nonfunctional, and therefore, patients often have few side effects and are diagnosed later, explains Yao.”
Cancers that arise in the lung are mostly of the type known as NSCLC (non-small cell lung carcinoma). A much smaller proportion of lung tumors arise from neuroendocrine cells in the lungs. These cells (which are also found in most other organs) secrete a variety of hormones that are necessary for normal organ function, as well as for healing after injury or infection. Like other lung cells, neuroendocrine cells may transform to become cancers. Lung cancers that arise from neuroendocrine cells are called pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), or lung NETs. Continue reading…