Current treatments of neuroendocrine tumors role of biotherapy and chemotherapy

Silvia Della Torre, Giuseppe Procopio, Alberto Fusi, Laura Catena, Leonardo Ferrari, Paola Nova, Angela Denaro, Ettore Bichisao, Emilio Bajetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroendocrine tumors are rare neoplasms originating from cells belonging to a diffuse or confined neuroendocrine system and characterized by a significant histopathologic and biologic heterogeneity. Timely diagnosis is delayed because they are often clinically silent for their low differentiation grade and the absence of any symptom due to abnormal hormone release. For these reasons, many neuroendocrine tumor patients are not treated medically for metastatic or inoperable disease. Medical treatments include biotherapy, with interferon-α and somatostatin analogues, and chemotherapy. Somastostatin analogues are widely used in patients with symptoms and with carcinoids of low differentiation grade. Interferon-α is used alone or in combination with somatostatin analogues. Chemotherapy is active in patients with poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumors. The therapeutic regimen commonly used is the combination of cisplatinum and etoposide. In conclusion, no standard treatment for NET has yet been identified, and the response criteria suggested by ITMO remain a reference point. The clinical aspect of the disease and biologic features suggest the identification of neuroendocrine tumors patients suitable for the appropriate therapies. On these bases, it is recommended that diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors be carried out at specialized oncological centers involved in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • Biotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Interferon
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Somatostatin analogues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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