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Pharmacogenetics in Neuroendocrine Tumors of the Pancreas

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) arise from cells distributed throughout the endocrine system. Although, NETs are heterogeneous in their behavior, they tend to be more aggressive when arising in the pancreas. Pancreatic NET (panNET) represents three percent of all primary pancreatic neoplasms. Symptomatic and progressive panNETs are generally treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy, whereas molecular targeted therapy is used for nonfunctional tumors without aggressive features. Pharmacogenetics has increasingly been used recently to better identify potential targets for therapy and help select patient-specific therapy. In this review, we discuss two abstracts (Abstract #4113 and #e15169 ) presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago this year, outlining the potential role of tumor gene and gene product profiling in disease management. We describe what is known about the pathogenesis of these tumors, role of decreased gene product expression (MGMT, RRM1, MET) and its application in cytotoxic therapy selection, as well as genetic mutations that can be used for molecular targeted therapy. With an overall shift towards personalized medicine, it has become ever more important to identify the molecular signature of a tumor as it appears to dictate the clinical behavior and response to therapy.

Author(s): Muhammad Wasif Saif, Yuxia Jia, Syed Mujtaba Rizvi, Joyce Wong

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