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      From Basic to Clinical Research in Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Disease – The Clinician-Scientist Perspective

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          Patients with rare tumors represent a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge for non-specialized physicians, surgeons and other medical doctors. Whereas several specialized centers have gathered data for an improved diagnosis and therapy of neuroendocrine tumor disease, numerous clinical issues have not been resolved on an evidence-based medicine level. Furthermore, the evaluation of new treatment options has been overshadowed by the low incidence of the disease. In this article, a major medical challenge for the diagnosis and therapy of neuroendocrine tumor disease is addressed. As well, new therapeutic treatment options translated from current findings in the fields of molecular and tumor biology are discussed.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Treatment of neuroendocrine carcinomas with combined etoposide and cisplatin. Evidence of major therapeutic activity in the anaplastic variants of these neoplasms.

          Forty-five patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors were treated with a regimen of etoposide 130 mg/m2/d for 3 days plus cisplatin 45 mg/m2/d on days 2 and 3. Both drugs were given by continuous intravenous infusion. Among 27 patients with well-differentiated carcinoid tumors or islet cell carcinomas, only two partial objective tumor regressions were observed (7%). Among 18 patients prospectively classified as having anaplastic neuroendocrine carcinomas, however, there were nine partial regressions and three complete regressions, an overall regression rate of 67%. For anaplastic disease, the median duration of regression was 8 months (range to 21 months). Tumor response was unrelated to primary site, endocrine hyperfunction, or prior therapy experience. The median survival of all patients with anaplastic tumors was 19 months; this seemed favorable when considering the small experiences with these rare tumors reported in the literature. Toxicity, which was severe for most patients, consisted primarily of vomiting, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, alopecia, and neuropathy. The anaplastic neuroendocrine tumor is strongly responsive to therapy with combined etoposide and cisplatin. Patients with undifferentiated carcinomas, originating in typical neuroendocrine tumor sites (small and large bowel, pancreas, and stomach) or of unknown origin, who have consistent histologic findings by light microscopy should be evaluated for this possibility with appropriate immune staining or electron microscopy.
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            Streptozocin-doxorubicin, streptozocin-fluorouracil or chlorozotocin in the treatment of advanced islet-cell carcinoma.

            The combination of streptozocin and fluorouracil has become the standard therapy for advanced islet-cell carcinoma. However, doxorubicin has also been shown to be active against this type of tumor, as has chlorozotocin, a drug that is structurally similar to streptozocin but less frequently causes vomiting. In this multicenter trial, we randomly assigned 105 patients with advanced islet-cell carcinoma to receive one of three treatment regimens: streptozocin plus fluorouracil, streptozocin plus doxorubicin, or chlorozotocin alone. The 31 patients in whom the disease did not respond to treatment were crossed over to chlorozotocin alone or to one of the combination regimens. Streptozocin plus doxorubicin was superior to streptozocin plus fluorouracil in terms of the rate of tumor regression, measured objectively (69 percent vs. 45 percent, P = 0.05), and the length of time to tumor progression (median, 20 vs. 6.9 months; P = 0.001). Streptozocin plus doxorubicin also had a significant advantage in terms of survival (median, 2.2 vs. 1.4 years; P = 0.004) that was accentuated when we considered long-term survival (greater than 2 years). Chlorozotocin alone produced a 30 percent regression rate, with the length of time to tumor progression and the survival time equivalent to those observed with streptozocin plus fluorouracil. Crossover therapy after the failure of either chlorozotocin alone or one of the combination regimens produced an overall response rate of only 17 percent, and the responses were transient. Toxic reactions to all regimens included vomiting, which was least severe with chlorozotocin; hematologic depression; and, with long-term therapy, renal insufficiency. The combination of streptozocin and doxorubicin is superior to the current standard regimen of streptozocin plus fluorouracil in the treatment of advanced islet-cell carcinoma. Chlorozotocin alone is similar in efficacy to streptozocin plus fluorouracil, but it produces fewer gastrointestinal side effects than the regimens containing streptozocin. It therefore merits study as a constituent of combination drug regimens.
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              Positional Cloning of the Gene for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia-Type 1


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2004
                15 October 2004
                : 80
                : Suppl 1
                : 94-98
                Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Interdisciplinary Center of Metabolism and Endocrinology, Charité, Campus Virchow Hospital, University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                80749 Neuroendocrinology 2004;80(suppl 1):94–98
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 41, Pages: 5


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