Neuro-endocrine tumors (NETs)
Neuro-endocrine tumors (NETs) develop from cells comprising the neuro-endocrine system, which is a network of glands that produce hormones. NETs develop mainly in the digestive system, but are also liable to be found in other organs in the body. NETs are rare, and some produce hormones that are liable to cause symptoms.
Treatment depends on a few factors, including the region where the tumor began to grow, the size of the tumor and the extent it has metastasized. With metastatic cancer that is inoperable, if the pace of growth of these tumors is very slow, sometimes chemotherapy is put off to later stages and targeted drugs are used:
Somatostatin analogs: preparations that inhibit the release of specific hormones.
Biological therapy: biological drugs work on various receptors in cancerous tissue with the aim of preventing the cancer from proliferating or of affecting genome mutations that activate cell-division mechanisms. In this way, these targeted drugs succeed in affecting the tumor.
Immunotherapy: sometimes the tumor reacts to treatment with cytokines, such as interferon, the aim being to stimulate the body’s immune system. There is also a new generation of immunotherapy, which includes drugs that use the immune system to fight the tumor, when the tumor is paralyzing the immune system. One of the known mechanisms uses the immune system in a focused way with drugs that inhibit PD1.
Personalized therapy: in instances when tumors are not responding to the customary chemotherapy, advanced tests may be used in order to try to pinpoint targets for various treatments. The most suitable therapy may then be decided according to the biological characteristics of the tumor tissue, whether chemotherapy, biological therapy, immunotherapy or even hormone therapy, which had not previously been considered effective.