February 16, 2023

Targeted therapy for neuroendocrine tumors

Cancer therapies that target VEGF receptor appear safe and effective for patients with pancreatic and non-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, meta-analysis of phase 2/3 clinical trials demonstrates.

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) can develop in many organs, with the pancreas a frequent location. These tumors are often cancerous and potentially fatal, and some NETs produce hormones causing a variety of symptoms.  

As these highly vascular tumors are associated with overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors, anti-VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (RTKIs) have been tested in patients with NETs. One drug (sunitinib) has been approved for patients with advanced pancreatic NETs. 

Satya Das, MD, and colleagues reviewed the efficacy and safety of anti-VEGF RTKIs by performing a meta-analysis of phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. They discovered that anti-VEGF RTKIs increased progression-free survival for both pancreatic and non-pancreatic NET patients. Treatment was not associated with an increase of serious adverse events, though common adverse events such as hypertension were increased.  

The article, published in the European Journal of Cancer, suggests that anti-VEGF RTKIs are safe and effective for both pancreatic and non-pancreatic NET patients.

Co-authors from Vanderbilt University Medical Center include Sharon Phillips, MSPH, Cody Lee, MD, Rajiv Agarwal, MD, Heather LaFerriere, MLIS, Robert A. Ramirez, DO, and Jordan Berlin, MD.