Octreotide May Provide Benefits in Midgut Tumors

Drug linked to longer time to tumor progression in patients with neuroendocrine tumors

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Octreotide LAR might inhibit tumor growth in patients with metastatic midgut neuroendocrine tumors, according to research published online Aug. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Anja Rinke, M.D., of Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, and colleagues performed an interim analysis of data from 85 patients with well-differentiated metastatic midgut neuroendocrine tumors. Most patients were newly diagnosed, and all were treatment-naive. Patients were randomized to receive octreotide LAR or placebo monthly until tumor progression or death.

The researchers found that the median time to tumor progression was longer in the octreotide group (14.3 versus six months). After six months, 66.7 percent of patients on octreotide had stable disease, compared to 37.2 percent in the placebo group. Seven deaths occurred in the treatment group, compared to nine in the placebo group. The greatest benefit was seen in patients with low hepatic tumor load and resected primary tumor.

"The authors concluded that newly diagnosed patients with a low hepatic tumor burden and resected primary tumor were candidates for treatment with octreotide LAR. New studies are needed to determine whether patients with a higher hepatic tumor load might be candidates for this treatment. Survival data are not available in the study and therefore it is not possible to tell whether this initial increased time to tumor progression translates into a survival benefit in the long run," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several co-authors and the editorial author reported financial associations with Novartis, which supported the study and helped develop its design.

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