Researchers are looking at improving the diagnosis and treatment of lung neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).
Go to Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials database if you are looking for a trial for neuroendocrine tumours in the UK. You need to talk to your specialist if there are any trials that you think you might be able to take part in.
What clinical trials are
Clinical trials aim to find out if a new test or treatment is safe or works better than current ones.
Research into diagnosis
Doctors often use radioactive scans such as octreotide scans and PET scans to help diagnose lung NETs. They can also show whether the cancer has spread outside the lung (the stage).
You usually have an injection of a radioactive substance (a tracer) before the scan. This helps to show up the cancer. Researchers are looking at a different type of tracer to see if it can show up NET cells better. The new tracer is called 18F-FET-βAG-TOCA.
Research into treatment
Research into the treatment of lung NETs is looking at chemotherapy, targeted drugs (biological therapies) and somatostatin analogues.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for some types of lung NETs called small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC).
Research continues into improving the timing and doses of the drugs used. Researchers also hope to find new combinations of drugs that might give better results.
Cancer cells have changes in their genes (DNA) that make them different from normal cells. These changes mean that they behave differently. Targeted drugs work by ‘targeting’ those differences that a cancer cell has.
Everolimus is a targeted drug. It stops a protein called mTOR from working properly. mTOR controls other proteins that tell cancer cells to grow. Everolimus is already used for people with lung NETs. But researchers are now looking at it in combination with other cancer treatments.
Another targeted drug that doctors are looking at is pembrolizumab. It blocks a protein called PD-1 on the surface of certain immune cells called T-cells. Blocking PD-1 triggers the immune cells to find and kill cancer cells.
Other drugs that are also being looked at in trials are:
Somatostatin analogues are drugs that stop your body from making too many hormones. They can reduce the symptoms of lung NETs and may slow down cancer growth.
Examples of somatostatin analogues that doctors in the UK are looking at include:
They are looking at using somatostatin analogues alone or with everolimus.
Research into the quality of life
Doctors are looking at how the treatment and illness affect people with NETs. These are called quality of life studies.
One study is looking at how a mobile application (App) might help with recording symptoms and side effects of treatment. Researchers want to see if using this type of technology can improve quality of life for people with a NET.
Find a clinical trial
Our clinical trials database has information about UK clinical trials for NETs including summaries of trial results.