Purpose: Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is a relatively new treatment modality for patients with unresectable or metastatic gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP NETs). The aim of this study was to determine the time to progression of patients treated with PRRT and to identify the prognostic factors related to treatment response.
Methods: Patients with sporadic GEP NETs prospectively treated with PRRT were retrospectively analysed. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS).
Results: A total of 69 patients (37 men and 32 women; 45 with pancreatic and 24 with gastrointestinal lesion; 22 NET G1 and 41 NET G2) were treated with (90)Y or (177)Lu. The objective response rate was 27.5% (partial response, PR), while 50.7% had stable disease and 23.2% had progressive disease. Significant differences in PFS were observed in relationship to the stage of the disease (44 months for stage III, 23 months for stage IV), the evidence of a PR 6 months after the end of the PRRT (39 months in patients with a PR, 22 months in patients without a PR) and previous transarterial chemoembolization (TACE, yes 13 months vs no 31 months). Stage IV, NET G2 and previous TACE were found to be significant factors for tumour progression at multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: Low tumour burden and a low proliferation index represent independent prognostic factors for long PFS, while previous chemoembolization techniques represent independent prognostic factors for early tumour progression and shorter PFS. Our data suggest that chemoembolization techniques to reduce the hepatic tumour burden should be avoided.