Background: The role of chemotherapy for neuroendocrine tumours remains controversial and there is no standard regimen.
Method: We report the outcome for a consecutive series of chemonaive patients with metastatic or locally advanced neuroendocrine tumours treated with a combination of 5-fluorouracil (500 mg m(-2)), cisplatin (70 mg m(-2)) and streptozocin (1000 mg m(-2)) (FCiSt) administered three weekly for up to six cycles. Patients were assessed for radiological response, toxicity and survival.
Results: In the 79 patients assessable for response, treatment with FCiSt was associated with an overall response rate of 33% (38% for pancreatic primary sites and 25% for non-pancreatic primary sites). Stable disease occurred in a further 51%, with progression in 16%. The median time to progression was 9.1 months and median overall survival was 31.5 months. The most common grade 3-4 toxicity was neutropaenia (28% patients) but grade 3-4 infection was rare (7%). The most frequent non-haematological grade 3-4 toxicity was nausea and vomiting (17%). Prognostic factors included Ki-67, mitotic index, grade and chromogranin A, whereas response to chemotherapy was predicted by mitotic index, grade and alpha-fetoprotein.
Conclusions: FCiSt is an effective regimen for neuroendocrine tumours with an acceptable toxicity profile. Grade and mitotic index are the best predictors of response.