Hormone receptors present in endocrine and non-endocrine tumors have long been used as molecular targets for medical therapy. Dopamine receptor agonists, which are considered as a primary therapy in patients with prolactin-producing pituitary adenomas, produce both normalization of prolactin levels and tumor regression, and even a complete cure of the patients. Somatostatin-analogues are able to bind somatostatin receptors and they offer an excellent therapeutic option for patients with growth hormone- and thyreotropin-producing pituitary adenomas as well as for those with carcinoid and other types of neuroendocrine tumors. Specific molecules present in endocrine tumor cells are excellent targets for radiolabelled ligands, such as 131l-treatment in patients with differentiated thyroid carcinomas (because of the expression of sodium-iodine symporter in these tumor cells) or 90Y-DOTATOC and 177Lu-DOTATOC radiotherapy in patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors (if tumor cells harbour somatostatin receptors). Novel therapeutic approaches, such as compounds which inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of growth factor receptors have been developed but have not been widely used in patients with endocrine tumors. This is in contrast with findings showing that abnormal functioning of these receptors or their signalling may play a pivotal role in the pathomechanism of several types of endocrine tumors. As an example, germline, somatic mutations, and somatic rearrangements of the gene coding for the tyrosine kinase receptor RET in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, sporadic medullary and papillary thyroid carcinomas, respectively, result in an oncogenic activation, which may indeed provide a well-defined rationale for the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors as a selective cancer therapy in these patients.
|Translated title of the contribution||Molecular targeted therapy for endocrine tumors|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2009|
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