A new option for patients with a rare gastrointestinal tumor now is available at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert as part of an expanded access clinical trial.

The investigational drug is available to eligible patients with inoperable neuroendocrine carcinoma of midgut origin (carcinoid of the digestive tract), offering an alternative for patients who otherwise would have little to no success through traditional chemotherapy. The rare tumor originates in hormone-producing cells within the bowels.

The investigational drug, Lutathera, was granted fast-track designation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 for the treatment of these tumors. It is currently used for treatment of similar tumors in several European countries. Banner MD Anderson is one of the facilities in the U.S. to provide this investigational drug.

“This type of tumor has a unique receptor. If we target that receptor with a radioactive particle, in combination with Lutathera, it has potential to act like a magic bullet,” said Susan Passalaqua, MD, diagnostic radiologist at Banner MD Anderson. “It’s designed to travel to the tumor, wash out from the other tissues that don’t have the receptor, and stay on the tumor to deliver a small amount of radioactivity while leaving the normal tissues unharmed.” 

Each year, an estimated 8,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor that starts in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, intestine, appendix, colon, and rectum, according to the American Cancer Society.

The submission of a New Drug Application for Lutethera is currently under review by the FDA . A description of this expanded access program will be available on http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov, under NCT02705313.  Boris Naraev, MD, medical oncologist, and Dr. Passalaqua are among those involved in the clinical trial at Banner MD Anderson.

To learn more about current clinical trials at Banner MD Anderson, call 480-440-7458 or contact BMDACCResearch@bannerhealth.com.