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Drug ideal for p-NET therapy: Pfizer

The China Post news staff--Since Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc., died of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pancreatic NET), also known as an islet-cell tumor, at the age of 56 on Oct. 6, 2011, the rare form of pancreatic cancer has riveted attention worldwide, with the question of how to overcome the rare cancer becoming a matter of great concern to related patients.

In this regard, the Sutent (Sunitinib malate) developed by Pfizer Inc. is deemed effective in treating p-NET that has progressed and cannot be treated with surgery, according to Chao Yee, director of the Chemoradiotherapy Division, Cancer Center of Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

Statistics show that in Taiwan there are around 100 new cases of p-NET diagnosed a year, including 40 percent involving functional p-NET that can secrete a variety of peptide hormones and 60 percent involving non-functional p-NET that can hardly be diagnosed until it deteriorates and spreads.

Chao said that the World Health Organization classified the p-NET into three grades in 2010 based on the proliferative rate and the mitotic index, Grade 1 (G1, low-grade), Grade 2 (G2, intermediate grade) and Grade 3 (G3, high grade) tumors.

Chao continued that both G1 and G2 p-NET are suitable for targeted therapy with the top-choice medicine Sutent (Sunitinib malate), while G3 is suitable for chemotherapy. Sutent can effectively slow or stop cancer's progress, and even help shrink tumors, thus securing a median overall survival period of up to 30.5 months, and the progression-free survival period of up to 12.6 months.

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