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New Therapy for Neuroendocrine Tumors Available at SKCC-Abington

Posted on: 10/17/2019

Patients with somatostatin receptor-positive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) being treated at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Abington-Jefferson Health have a new treatment option available to them—lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (Lutathera).

Lutathera works by binding to the somatostatin receptors on the surface of the tumor cells while the radioactive substance, Lu 177, delivers high-dose radiotherapy to kill the tumor cells throughout the body. A phase III clinical trial had demonstrated a 79 percent reduction of disease progression or death among patients receiving Lutathera and octreotide compared with patients who received octreotide alone, which had been the standard of care. The researchers found the median progression-free survival was almost three years among the patients receiving Lutathera.

“The management of patients with neuroendocrine tumors is difficult. NETs of the midgut are the most common type of GI NETs and are associated with a five-year survival rate of less than 50 percent among people with metastatic disease,” said Rajan Agarwal, MD, Medical Director of Nuclear Medicine and PET Imaging at Abington-Jefferson Health. “The data from the trial are remarkable; it is not often that a new oncologic therapy results in a 79 percent reduction of disease progression or death.”

When the FDA approved Lutathera in the United States in 2018, Agarwal and his team worked quickly to build this complex therapy program, which treated its first patient in December 2018.

“I am proud to say that our amazing team can now provide this novel therapy to our local and regional community. At SKCC-Abington we strive to keep our radiology department at the cutting edge of medicine so we can provide our patients and our community with the latest and the greatest care in a friendly, safe, and high-quality manner,” Agarwal said.

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