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Pasireotide Tested in Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors

In a phase II, open-label, multicenter study, pasireotide was effective and well tolerated in controlling symptoms in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) that were no longer responsive to treatment with octreotide acetate (Sandostatin LAR Depot).

The study was published in a recent issue of Endocrine-Related Cancer, a publication of the Society for Endocrinology.

"Neuroendocrine tumors are often asymptomatic and, by the time of diagnosis, have frequently metastasized, usually to the liver," said Larry K. Kvols, MD, the study's corresponding author. "Surgery is essential in managing metastatic neuroendocrine tumors and can be curative for early disease, but the majority of patients need further treatment."

According to Dr. Kvols, octreotide and lanreotide—drugs that mimic natural somatostatin—have been the mainstay for symptom management of NETs. However, many patients eventually fail to respond to this treatment and have poor prognoses.

The multicenter clinical trial, conducted in the U.S. and Europe, enrolled 89 patients and evaluated 44 for efficacy and 45 for tolerability. Evaluation of tumor response in 23 patients showed 13 with stable disease and 10 with progressive disease. The drug was judged to be effective and well tolerated, and adverse events, most commonly gastrointestinal, were mild or moderate in severity.

The study was partly funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

A phase III trial evaluating pasireotide versus octreotide is ongoing in patients with advanced NETs whose disease-related symptoms have been inadequately controlled.

For more information, visit the Moffit Cancer Center Web site.

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