Worldwide Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Day, Nov. 10, raised public and professional awareness about neuroendocrine (also called carcinoid) tumors. Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) is an umbrella term for tumors that arise from cells that can produce and secrete a variety of hormones that regulate bodily functions. There are many types of NET that can occur throughout the body; however, most are found in the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas and lungs. The most common type of neuroendocrine tumor is carcinoid.
* Approximately 11,000 to 12,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with neuroendocrine or carcinoid tumors each year.
* While neuroendocrine tumor is a rare type of cancer, the incidence rate has increased five-fold in the past 30 years.
* While the exact cause of NET is unknown, people with a family history of cancer, women and those with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing this cancer.
The Arizona Cancer Center is one of the key institutions involved in the treatment study of neuroendocrine tumors. The ongoing clinical trial compares the standard treatment with a drug called octreotide to a novel drug (pasireotide or SOM230).
“It is important to raise public awareness about carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors” said Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD, and a principal investigator on this study. “Neuroendocrine tumors are very often misdiagnosed and confused with other types of tumors. Fortunately, this is one of the more manageable cancers and even when diagnosed at an advanced stage can be successfully treated for a long time."
Learn more about clinical trials at the Arizona Cancer Center.