Lutathera PRRT, a targeted therapy for neuroendocrine tumors of the small intestine and pancreas, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in late January 2018.
The approval of Lutathera came on the heels of aHHa clinical study called NETTER-1. The trial evaluated the medicine for treating patients with somatostatin-receptor-positive neuroendocrine tumors of the small intestine with advanced, metastatic disease.
The results, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, were dramatic. Lutathera showed a sixfold advantage in both response rate and progression-free survival compared to a current standard of care.
- How Lutathera PRRT works
- How Lutathera PRRT fits into a treatment plan
- What treatment with Lutathera PRRT looks like
City of Hope is one of the first centers nationwide to offer Lutathera, as part of our patient-centered team approach to fighting gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
People confronted with these rare malignancies have had a limited number of options to control them. With this powerful addition to the anticancer arsenal, City of Hope’s multidisciplinary compassionate care team moved swiftly to provide Lutathera PRRT as a new option for combating gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors.
Because we believe that cancer patients — no matter how uncommon a disease they face — shouldn’t have to wait on better treatments.
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Lutathera PRRT is a targeted radiation treatment, designed to attack cancer cells while minimizing harm to healthy tissue. The “PRRT” stands for “peptide receptor radionuclide therapy.”
“Peptide receptor” refers to the method by which Lutathera homes in on neuroendocrine tumor cells. These aberrant cells tend to have an abundance of a particular protein receptor — one that the peptide hormone called somatostatin fits like a lock and key. One part of Lutathera mimics somatostatin, enabling the therapy to latch onto neuroendocrine tumor cells.
“Radionuclide therapy” refers to the way Lutathera attacks cancer. A linker connects the somatostatin analogue with a particle of Lutetium-177, a radioactive isotope with an especially small area of effect.
Together, these elements act like a smart bomb, delivering doses of radiation directly to tumors.
There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment at City of Hope.
Our medical team collaborates to pinpoint the right therapy at the right time for each individual. To fight neuroendocrine tumors, this approach unites compassionate experts across a number of specialties — including medical oncology, radiopharmacy and nuclear medicine — to tailor a treatment plan for each patient.
In practice, this means that Lutathera PRRT won’t be right for everyone. A special imaging test called Gallium 68 PET/CT scan helps the medical team evaluate whether an individual patient’s disease expresses an abundance of somatostatin receptors — the weakness that this treatment uses to fight neuroendocrine tumors.
Likewise, Lutathera may not be the first option for everyone. As relatively slow-growing malignancies that tend to resist treatment, neuroendocrine tumors call for careful management. Our physicians aren’t just thinking of the next step. They’re thinking three steps ahead, balancing the benefits of each approach with its potential consequences and trying to get the most out of every treatment option.
The goal: to control disease, so patients live longer and enjoy the same kind of quality of life they experienced before cancer.
Lutathera PRRT is delivered as an infusion. The typical course for this therapy involves four outpatient treatments, with one given every eight weeks. Including preparation before and monitoring afterward, patients are likely to spend most of a day at City of Hope each visit. While there, they should expect that they’ll see all the members of their care team, for treatment, consultation and support.
At City of Hope, we believe that people should not have to leave the country for effective treatment; neither should those without the means have options entirely removed from their menu of therapies. And that’s why we acted with urgency to make Lutathera available to patients with neuroendocrine tumors.