Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Islet Cell Tumor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 4/2013
Latest Research

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of tumor and how to treat it. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

Doctors are working to learn more about islet cell tumors, ways to prevent them, how to best treat them, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Targeted therapy. As discussed in the Treatment Options section, anti-angiogenesis therapies are a type of targeted therapy used to treat patients with an advanced islet cell tumor. New anti-angiogenesis therapies that are currently being studied for this disease include pazopanib (Votrient), cabozantinib (Cometriq), and dovitinib (TKI258). Like suntinib, these drugs are taken orally.

Bevacizumab (Avastin) is another anti-angiogenesis therapy that continues to be actively explored as a treatment for advanced islet cell tumors. This monoclonal antibody is already approved for the treatment of colon, lung, kidney, and brain cancers. It is administered by vein.

In addition to anti-angiogenesis therapies, new drugs that block the mTOR pathway (see the Treatment Options section), as well as other signaling pathways important in the survival, growth, and spread of islet cell tumors, are also being studied.

All of the drugs listed above are being investigated in clinical trials, either by themselves (called monotherapy) or in combination with other drugs, including chemotherapies such as capecitabine (Xeloda) and temozolomide (Methazolastone, Temodar).

Hormone therapy.  Lanreotide (Somatuline) and pasireotide (Signifor) are somatostatin analogues like octreotide (see the Treatment Options section). These synthetic hormones are similar in chemical structure and function to ones that the body produces naturally. These hormonal agents have been, and are still being, tested in clinical trials.

One other technique that has been actively explored, and is used most notably in Europe, involves attaching radioactive isotopes to somatostatin analogues. When these radiolabeled drugs are injected into the body, they find and destroy islet cell tumor cells with radioactivity. 

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current islet cell tumor treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

To continue reading this guide, choose “Next” (below, right) to see a section about coping with the side effects of the disease or its treatment. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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