Washington DC: Results of an international trial have shown promise in rare and difficult to treat cancer.
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.
The 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.
As per James Yao of the University of Texas, 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.
He will tell the 2015 European Cancer Congress that about 80 percent of all NETs are thought to be non-functional, so, unfortunately, late diagnosis is common and poses a major problem for these patients.
Researchers hope that their results will provide a new treatment option for lung and gastrointestinal NETs.