Lutathera® Approved for Neuroendocrine Tumors of the Pancreas (Steve Job’s Cancer) Interview with:

Dr- Lynn Matrisian

Dr. Matrisian

Lynn Matrisian, PhD, MBA
Chief science Officer
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Would you tell us a little about PNETs? How common is this type of pancreatic tumor? How does Lutathera differ from other treatments for this tumor? 

Response: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) make up about 6 percent of all pancreatic cancer diagnoses. They are less common and slower growing than the more common type of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma, and have a better prognosis.

Lutathera® is a peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) that was approved for the treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), including PNETs, that express somatostatin receptors. The drug is a somatostatin analog that is conjugated to a radionuclide (177Lu) to selectively deliver radiotherapy to the cancer cells.

Other treatment options for PNETs include surgery (partial or complete removal of the tumor), chemotherapy (typically in combination) or radiation therapy (conventional as well as PRRT). Patients may also receive targeted therapies. Sutent® blocks platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGFRs) α and β, stem-cell factor receptor (c-kit) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2 and VEGFR-3, leading to inhibition of cell growth and angiogenesis. Afinitor® behaves as a rapamycin analog, blocking the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway.

Prior to Lutathera’s approval, there were two non-PRRT somatostatin analogs approved for PNET patients. These drugs were initially intended to mitigate some of the symptoms of the disease, but they were also found to slow the cancer cells’ growth. The approved somatostatin analogs are lanreotide and octreotide. What should readers take away from this report? 

Response: We are pleased to see another treatment option available for patients with neuroendocrine tumors of their pancreas. Here at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), our goal is to double survival for pancreatic cancer by 2020. Seeing progress in the treatment of any type of pancreatic cancer is an important step forward toward improving outcomes and extending lives.

PanCAN’s Patient Central call center provides accurate, up-to-date information to patients and caregivers faced with any type of pancreatic cancer. Adenocarcinoma and PNET patients can receive personalized clinical trials searches and access to molecular profiling through our Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service. Results from Know Your Tumor can provide the patient and their healthcare providers valuable information about the tumor’s unique molecular makeup, which can impact treatment decisions. Any disclosures?

Response: PanCAN was not involved in conducting or funding the clinical trial that led to Lutathera’s approval, and we have nothing to disclose.


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