Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Pancreas: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about pancreas NETs and how to treat them. Use the menu to see other pages.

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

  • Anti-angiogenesis therapy. As discussed in the Types of Treatment section, anti-angiogenesis therapies are a type of targeted therapy used to treat advanced pancreas NETs. A number of new anti-angiogenesis therapies similar to sunitinib are being tested in clinical trials for pancreas NETs. These drugs are all taken orally.

    Another anti-angiogenic drug is bevacizumab (Avastin), which is a monoclonal antibody given through an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle. It is already approved to treat several other cancers. A recent study showed that adding bevacizumab to everolimus plus octreotide increased the chances that a pancreas NET would shrink and kept the tumor from growing or spreading for a longer time. However, people who took bevacizumab did not live longer than those who did not. Treatment with bevacizumab also caused more side effects than the standard treatment.

  • Immunotherapy. There is much interest in studying immunotherapy, as described in Types of Treatment, to treat many types of tumors, including pancreas NETs. Certain immunotherapies, such as PD-1 and CTLA-4 antibodies (also known as immune checkpoint inhibitors) have already been approved for other types of cancer. However, they are not currently approved for routine treatment of pancreas NETs.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current pancreas NET treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding pancreas NETs, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that a pancreas NET and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.