Chemo Combo Promising for Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Greater benefit with temozolomide, bevacizumab for patients with pancreatic versus carcinoid NETs

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- The combination of temozolomide and bevacizumab seems to benefit patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), according to a study published online July 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jennifer A. Chan, M.D., M.P.H., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues conducted a phase II study in which they treated 34 patients with NETs (56 percent carcinoid; 44 percent pancreatic NETs) with temozolomide in combination with bevacizumab.

The researchers found that the combination of temozolomide and bevacizumab correlated with expected grade 3 to 4 toxicities, including lymphopenia (53 percent) and thrombocytopenia (18 percent). The radiographic response rate was 15 percent overall, and was 33 percent for patients with pancreatic NETs, compared with 0 percent for those with carcinoid tumors. Progression-free survival was a median of 11.0 months (14.3 months for pancreatic NETs versus 7.3 months for carcinoid tumors). Overall survival was a median of 33.3 months (41.7 months for pancreatic NETs versus 18.8 months for carcinoid tumors).

"Temozolomide and bevacizumab can be safely administered together in patients with advanced NETs, and the combination regimen appears promising for patients with pancreatic NETs," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Genentech and Schering-Plough/Merck, which funded the study and manufacture bevacizumab and temozolomide.

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