Doctors are working to learn more about neuroendocrine 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.
New chemotherapy and drug combinations. A study has shown that the drug octreotide (Sandostatin) can slow tumor growth in patients with a neuroendocrine tumor of the midgut (the lower part of the small intestine) that has spread. Drugs used in chemotherapy—such as fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU), leucovorin (Wellcovorin), and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)—work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
Targeted therapy and combined treatments. Monoclonal antibodies are a type of targeted therapy that can block tumor growth in different ways. Some block the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Others find tumor cells and help kill them or carry tumor-killing substances to them.
Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a type of monoclonal antibody. It blocks a process called angiogenesis, the making new blood vessels. Because a tumor needs the nutrients found in blood vessels to grow and spread, the goal of anti-angiogenesis therapies is to “starve” the tumor. When combined with chemotherapy, it may kill more tumor cells than chemotherapy alone. Bevacizumab may also stop the growth of neuroendocrine tumors by blocking blood flow to the tumor. Another anti-angiogenic drug being studied for neuroendocrine tumors is sorafenib (Nexavar), which may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth and by blocking blood flow to the tumor.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current neuroendocrine tumor treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research .
Looking for More about Current Research?
If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding neuroendocrine tumors, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now .
- Listen to a podcast  with Richard Goldberg, MD, from the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting on gastrointestinal cancers that covers a study on neuroendocrine tumors.
- Read ASCO’s latest Clinical Cancer Advances report  (PDF), which highlights top research findings over the past year.
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