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Neuroendocrine tumors

Neuroendocrine tumor treatments

Once you have been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors (NET), your care team will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on your unique diagnosis and needs. Since most NET patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, an integrative approach is key to your well-being. Treatment for NETs varies, depending on factors such as the type and stage of NET. Common treatment options for neuroendocrine tumors include:

Surgery

Removing the primary tumor with surgery is often the first approach recommended for patients with localized NETs. The goal of surgery is to fully remove a neuroendocrine tumor or reduce the tumor burden. Surgery may also be an option for those with advanced disease, to help relieve symptoms. Some surgical procedures for NETs include debulking or cytoreductive surgery, minimally invasive laparoscopic resections and liver transplantation.

Medical oncology

Depending on the type of NET and treatment goals, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy may be used to manage certain types of NETs, including advanced tumors. Some targeted therapies for pancreatic NETs include everolimus and sunitinib. Chemoembolization, in which chemotherapy drugs are administered directly into the tumor, may be an option if the disease has metastasized to the liver.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is generally used when a neuroendocrine tumor has spread or is in a location that makes surgery difficult. CyberKnife® may be a non-invasive option for some patients and enables our radiation oncologists to deliver high, targeted doses of radiation to NETs. For metastatic disease to the liver, TheraSphere® and SIR-Spheres® offer innovative options that deliver radiation directly to tumors in the liver.

Interventional radiology

Radiofrequency ablation may be used for NETs that have spread to the liver. This type of interventional radiology uses high-energy radio waves to heat and destroy cancerous cells. NanoKnife® may be a minimally invasive option for patients with inoperable or difficult-to-reach tumors. Instead of using extreme heat or cold, which may damage normal adjacent tissues, the NanoKnife system uses electrical currents to destroy NETs. For NETs that have spread to the liver, embolization procedures may help reduce or cut off the supply of blood to the tumor.

Gastroenterology

We provide a wide range of treatment options for gastrointestinal NETs. Our gastroenterology team uses various technologies to look at the GI tract in different and minimally invasive ways. We may recommend innovative techniques and ablative treatments to help remove obstructions in the GI tract and relieve pain or breathing problems.

Molecular targeted therapy

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is a molecular targeted therapy that may be used to treat certain NETs. Molecular targeted therapies use drugs or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells while reducing harm to healthy tissue.

Next topic: What are the symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors?