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FDA approves Lutathera, Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate for treatment of GEP-NETS

On January 26, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved lutetium Lu 177 dotatate (LUTATHERA, Advanced Accelerator Applications USA, Inc.) a radiolabeled somatostatin analog, for the treatment of somatostatin receptor-positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), including foregut, midgut, and hindgut neuroendocrine tumors in adults.

“GEP-NETs are a rare group of cancers with limited treatment options after initial therapy fails to keep the cancer from growing,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This approval provides another treatment choice for patients with these rare cancers.

GEP-NETs can be present in the pancreas and in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract such as the stomach, intestines, colon and rectum. It is estimated that approximately one out of 27,000 people are diagnosed with GEP-NETs per year.

Lutathera is a radioactive drug that works by binding to a part of a cell called a somatostatin receptor, which may be present on certain tumors. After binding to the receptor, the drug enters the cell allowing radiation to cause damage to the tumor cells.

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