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Wouter T Zandee, Kimberly Kamp, Roxanne C van Adrichem, Richard A Feelders, and Wouter W de Herder

The treatment of hormone hypersecretory syndromes caused by neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) can be a major challenge. NETs originating from the small intestine often secrete serotonin causing flushing, diarrhea and valve fibrosis, leading to dehydration or heart failure in severe cases. NETs from the pancreas can secrete a wider variety of hormones, like insulin, glucagon and gastrin leading to distinct clinical syndromes. Historically mortality in patients with functioning NETs was high due to the complications caused by the hypersecretion of hormones. This has been reduced with several drugs: proton-pump inhibitors decrease acid secretion caused by gastrinomas. Somatostatin analogs can inhibit the secretion of multiple hormones and these are now the cornerstone for treating patients with a gastroenteropancreatic NET. However, peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with radiolabeled somatostatin analogs and everolimus can also decrease symptoms of hypersecretion and increase progression-free survival. Several factors affect the survival in patients with a functioning NET. Complications of hypersecretion negatively impact survival; however, secretion of hormones is also often a sign of a well-differentiated NET and due to the symptoms, functioning NETs can be detected in an earlier stage suggesting a positive effect on prognosis. The effect on survival is also dependent on the type of hormone being secreted. This review aims to study the effect of hormone secretion on the prognosis of NETs with the contemporary treatments options available today.

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Johannes Hofland, Aura D Herrera-Martínez, Wouter T Zandee, and Wouter W de Herder

Carcinoid syndrome (CS) is a debilitating disease caused by functional neuroendocrine tumors. Several treatment options are available to alleviate the hormonal symptoms, but their relative efficacy is unknown. Online databases were searched for publications on the treatment of CS symptoms. Independent reviewers assessed relevant publications for study quality and outcome. Meta-analysis of the outcomes of the intervention on CS-related symptoms was stratified by the type of treatment. We found 3682 therapeutic interventions on CS-specific outcomes were collected from 93 studies. Overall, the study qualities were poor with only six randomized controlled clinical trials. The somatostatin analogs octreotide and lanreotide induced symptomatic improvement in 65–72% and biochemical response in 45–46% of patients. An increase in dose or frequency or interclass switch led to a reduction of flushes and/or diarrhea in 72–84% of cases. Retrospective, institutional series showed that liver-directed therapy can improve symptoms in 82% of CS patients with a liver-dominant disease. The serotonin synthesis inhibitor telotristat ethyl reduced bowel movements in 40% of patients with diarrhea refractory to somatostatin analogs. Interferon-alpha controlled CS symptoms in 45–63% of cases. Favorable response has been noted after radionuclide therapy in subgroup analyses of studies not specifically involving CS patients. Chemotherapy and everolimus did not induce a significant response in the CS. We conclude that several treatment lines can be offered to patients suffering from the carcinoid syndrome. Initiation of randomized controlled trials with a primary outcome on carcinoid syndrome symptoms is strongly recommended.

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Anela Blažević, Wouter T Zandee, Gaston J H Franssen, Johannes Hofland, Marie-Louise F van Velthuysen, Leo J Hofland, Richard A Feelders, and Wouter W de Herder

Mesenteric fibrosis (MF) surrounding a mesenteric mass is a hallmark feature of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumours (SI-NETs). Since this can induce intestinal obstruction, oedema and ischaemia, prophylactic resection of the primary tumour and mesenteric mass is often recommended. This study assessed the predictors for mesenteric metastasis and fibrosis and the effect of MF and palliative surgery on survival. A retrospective analysis of 559 patients with pathologically proven SI-NET and available CT-imaging data was performed. Clinical characteristics, presence of mesenteric mass and fibrosis on CT imaging and the effect of palliative abdominal surgery on overall survival were assessed. We found that MF was present in 41.4%. Older age, 5-HIAA excretion ≥67 μmol/24 h, serum CgA ≥121.5 μg/L and a mesenteric mass ≥27.5 mm were independent predictors of MF. In patients ≤52 years, mesenteric mass was less often found in women than in men (39% vs 64%, P = 0.002). Corrected for age, tumour grade, CgA and liver metastasis, MF was not a prognostic factor for overall survival. In patients undergoing palliative surgery, metastasectomy of mesenteric mass or prophylactic surgery did not result in survival benefit. In conclusion, we confirmed known predictors of MF and mesenteric mass and suggest a role for sex hormones as women ≤52 years have less often a mesenteric mass. Furthermore, the presence of MF has no effect on survival in a multivariate analysis, and we found no benefit of metastasectomy of mesenteric mass or prophylactic surgery on overall survival.

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Julie Refardt, Wouter T Zandee, Tessa Brabander, Richard A Feelders, Gaston J H Franssen, Leo J Hofland, Emanuel Christ, Wouter W de Herder, and Johannes Hofland

Sufficient expression of somatostatin receptor (SSTR) in well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is crucial for treatment with somatostatin analogs (SSAs) and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) using radiolabeled SSAs. Impaired prognosis has been described for SSTR-negative NET patients; however, studies comparing matched SSTR-positive and -negative subjects who have not received PRRT are missing. This retrospective analysis of two prospectively maintained NET databases aimed to compare matched metastatic grade 1 or 2 SSTR-positive and –negative NET patients. SSTR-negativity was defined as having insufficient tumor uptake on diagnostic SSTR imaging. Patients that underwent PRRT were excluded. Seventy-seven SSTR-negative and 248 SSTR-positive grade 1–2 NET patients were included. Median overall survival rates were significantly lower for SSTR-negative compared to SSTR-positive NET patients (53 months vs 131 months; P < 0.001). To adjust for possible confounding by age, gender, grade and site of origin, 69 SSTR-negative NET patients were propensity score matched to 69 SSTR-positive NET patients. Group characteristics were similar, with the exception of SSTR-negative patients receiving more often chemotherapy and targeted treatment. The inferior survival outcome of SSTR-negative compared to SSTR-positive NET patients persisted with a median overall survival of 38 months vs 131 months (P = 0.012). This relationship upheld when correcting for the main influencing factors of having a higher grade tumor or receiving surgery in a multivariate Cox regression analysis. In conclusion, we showed that propensity score-matched SSTR-negative NET patients continue to have a worse prognosis compared to SSTR-positive NET patients despite receiving more aggressive treatment. Differences in tumor biology likely underlie this survival deficit.

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Esben Andreas Carlsen, Nicola Fazio, Dan Granberg, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg, Hojjat Ahmadzadehfar, Chiara Maria Grana, Wouter T Zandee, Jaroslaw Cwikla, Martin A Walter, Peter Sandor Oturai, Anja Rinke, Andrew Weaver, Andrea Frilling, Sara Gritti, Anne Kirstine Arveschoug, Amichay Meirovitz, Ulrich Knigge, and Halfdan Sorbye

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is an established treatment of metastatic neuroendocrine tumors grade 1–2 (G1–G2). However, its possible benefit in high-grade gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN G3) is largely unknown. We therefore aimed to assess the benefits and side effects of PRRT in patients with GEP NEN G3. We performed a retrospective cohort study at 12 centers to assess the efficacy and toxicity of PRRT in patients with GEP NEN G3. Outcomes were response rate, disease control rate, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicity. We included 149 patients (primary tumor: pancreatic n = 89, gastrointestinal n = 34, unknown n = 26). PRRT was first-line (n = 30), second-line (n = 62) or later-line treatment (n = 57). Of 114 patients evaluated, 1% had complete response, 41% partial response, 38% stable disease and 20% progressive disease. Of 104 patients with documented progressive disease before PRRT, disease control rate was 69%. The total cohort had median PFS of 14 months and OS of 29 months. Ki-67 21–54% (n = 125) vs Ki-67 ≥55% (n = 23): PFS 16 vs 6 months (P < 0.001) and OS 31 vs 9 months (P < 0.001). Well (n = 60) vs poorly differentiated NEN (n = 62): PFS 19 vs 8 months (P < 0.001) and OS 44 vs 19 months (P < 0.001). Grade 3–4 hematological or renal toxicity occurred in 17% of patients. This large multicenter cohort of patients with GEP NEN G3 treated with PRRT demonstrates promising response rates, disease control rates, PFS and OS as well as toxicity in patients with mainly progressive disease. Based on these results, PRRT may be considered for patients with GEP NEN G3.

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Louis de Mestier, Angela Lamarca, Jorge Hernando, Wouter Zandee, Teresa Alonso-Gordoa, Marine Perrier, Annemieke M E Walenkamp, Bipasha Chakrabarty, Stefania Landolfi, Marie-Louise F. Van Velthuysen, Gursah Kats-Ugurlu, Alejandra Carminoa, Maxime Ronot, Prakash Manoharan, Alejandro Garcia-Alvarez, Tessa Brabander, María Isabel García Gómez-Muriel, Guillaume Cadiot, Anne Couvelard, Jaume Capdevilla, Marianne E Pavel, and Jerome Cros

There is no standardized treatment for grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors (G3 NETs). We aimed to describe the treatments received in patients with advanced G3 NETs and compare their efficacy. Patients with advanced digestive G3 NETs treated between 2010 and 2018 in seven expert centers were retrospectively studied. Pathological samples were centrally reviewed, and radiological data were locally reviewed. We analyzed RECIST-defined objective response (OR), tumor growth rate (TGR) and progression-free survival (PFS) obtained with first- (L1) or second-line (L2) treatments. We included 74 patients with advanced G3 NETs, mostly from duodenal or pancreatic origin (71.6%), with median Ki-67 of 30%. The 126 treatments (L1=74; L2=52) included alkylating-based (n=32), etoposide-platinum (n=22) or adenocarcinoma-like chemotherapy (n=20), somatostatin analogs (n=21), targeted therapies (n=22) and liver-directed therapies (n=7). Alkylating-based chemotherapy achieved the highest OR rate (37.9%) compared to other treatments (multivariable OR 4.22, 95% CI [1.5-12.2]; p=0.008). Adenocarcinoma-like and alkylating-based chemotherapies showed the highest reductions in 3-month TGR (p<0.001 and p=0.008, respectively). The longest median PFS were obtained with adenocarcinoma-like chemotherapy (16.5 months [9.0-24.0]) and targeted therapies (12.0 months [8.2-15.8]), while the shortest PFS were observed with somatostatin analogues (6.2 months [3.8-8.5]) and etoposide-platinum chemotherapy (7.2 months [5.2-9.1]). Etoposide-platinum CT achieved shorter PFS than adenocarcinoma-like (multivariable HR 3.69 [1.61-8.44], p=0.002) and alkylating-based chemotherapies (multivariable HR 1.95 [1.01-3.78], p=0.049). Overall, adenocarcinoma-like and alkylating-based chemotherapies may be the most effective treatments for patients with advanced G3 NETs regarding OR and PFS. Etoposide-platinum chemotherapy has poor efficacy in this setting.