Sunitinib shrinks NET-G3 pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018 Jun;144(6):1155-1163. doi: 10.1007/s00432-018-2636-2. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Purpose: The 2017 revised World Health Organization classification of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms classified conventional G3 tumors into well-differentiated (NET-G3) and poorly differentiated (NEC-G3) tumors. However, guidelines for selection of drug therapy were not established in the 2017 revision. This study aimed to elucidate the rates of maximum tumor reduction of sunitinib, progression-free survival, and overall survival in the new classification.

Methods: We investigated the reduction rate over time using computed tomography for 60 patients with unresectable or distant metastatic pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms who received 37.5 mg of sunitinib in our department from April 2013 to November 2017.

Results: Of the 60 cases, 42, 10, and 5 were NET-G1/G2, NET-G3, and NEC-G3, respectively. The prognostic factors were analyzed according to clinicopathological factors using the Cox hazard model. The median observation period was 19 months, and the median duration of sunitinib administration was 7 months. The median maximum reduction rate of sunitinib was 18.3%. Tumor response was classified according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors: 20 cases (33.3%) showed partial response, 29 cases (48.3%) showed stable disease, and 11 cases (18.3%) showed progressive disease. In a multivariate analysis of factors contributing to progression-free survival from the start of sunitinib administration, only histologically poor differentiation was a significant factor (p = 0.010). Progression-free survival and overall survival were significantly better in patients with NET-G3 than that in patients with NEC-G3 (p = 0.005, p = 0.012), while it was not different between those with NET-G3 and those with NET-G1/2.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that sunitinib is as effective for NET-G3 as for NET-G1/2.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; NET-G3; Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms; Sunitinib.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Sunitinib
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Indoles
  • Pyrroles
  • Sunitinib