Strategies may depend on factors such as tumor size, grade, stage, location, secretory status, and potential associated symptoms, if any.1
"Surgery is usually the definitive treatment for these tumors, if we're fortunate enough to detect them early."
—Dr Larry Kvols
As Dr Kvols notes, early detection is fortunate when it occurs. Because of the average time it takes to diagnose a NET, 50% of all patients with reported disease stage at diagnosis have either regional or distant metastases.2
Management of patients with NETs that have progressed or metastasized is generally focused on the palliation of symptoms and the prevention of further complications of the disease. For patients whose NETs have progressed, several therapeutic modalities exist to manage complications of local/regional disease, as well as to help manage more widespread metastases.3
Who decides which option to pursue?
As our understanding of NETs continues to grow, new therapeutic options and diagnostic procedures are explored. Each new option reinforces the potential benefits of a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to patient management. NET multidisciplinary teams can vary by setting, and may include specialists such as an oncologist, a surgeon, a pathologist, a gastroenterologist, an interventional radiologist, and a nuclear medicine expert, along with support staff as needed.
The strategy behind a multidisciplinary approach is to try and build a therapy that is "tailor-made" for each NET patient's specific condition.4
Understanding the subtleties of managing patients with NETs
Download a case study to see firsthand how an oncologist and nurse specialist work together to manage a patient with an ileal NET