Two drugs recommended for approval to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

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Two novel drugs recommended to be approved to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) voted on April 12, 2011 to recommend that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve two drugs in the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Neuroendocrine tumors represent less than five percent of all pancreatic cancer diagnoses, and typically grow slower and have a longer survival rate than the more commonly diagnosed form of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic adenocarcinoma. For more information about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, please click here.

The drugs being discussed are Sutent® (sunitinib) and Afinitor® (everolimus), made by the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Novartis, respectively. Sutent® and Afinitor® are both designed to target specific proteins that are especially active within the cancer cells, and are not necessary for the growth of normal cells. Both drugs have already been approved by the FDA for treatment of other cancer types. Clinical trials that evaluated these drugs in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor patients showed enough promise that the ODAC is recommending that the FDA approve them for this disease as well. Although the FDA seeks guidance from ODAC and other advisory committees prior to approving each drug, the final decision is made by the FDA.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network encourages all patients to consider clinical trials when exploring treatment options. For more information about ongoing clinical trials or other questions about pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment, please contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager toll-free at 877-272-6226 or by completing our contact form. PanCAN Patient Services Case Managers are available M-F 7am-5pm Pacific Time.