NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner and the New Orleans Neuroendocrine Tumor Specialists (NOLANETS) have launched the Gallium 68 Scan Study to test the effectiveness of this diagnostic tool to detect neuroendocrine tumors. Ochsner – Kenner is the only site from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle to offer this groundbreaking diagnostic tool in a clinical trial.
While most people may not be familiar with rare neuroendocrine tumors, they most certainly have heard of Apple icon Steve Jobs who succumbed to neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer in 2011. Jobs’ public battle with the disease raised awareness of these types of tumors that are characterized as slow-moving and can originate in the stomach, thymus, lungs, pancreas, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon or rectum.
A neuroendocrine tumor (NET) is a rare tumor that arises from nerve and endocrine cells and can occasionally produce biologically active hormones. Because they can be slow growing, these tumors can also be very difficult to diagnose. Many patients have gone almost 10 years before being diagnosed, losing valuable time to battle the disease. The patient may present with vague symptoms such as flushing, diarrhea, palpitations, cardiac disease or wheezing. Each year, approximately 12,000 – 15,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States.
Once NET is diagnosed, patients undergo a series of medical tests which may include Computed Tomography (CT), PET/CT, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Octeo Scan. The study requires additional testing using the Gallium 68 scanner, an imaging scanner that uses positron emitting radiopharmaceuticals to show tumor development. The objective of this trial is to show that this type of scan offers a clearer image and greater tumor detail. The Gallium 68 results are then compared to the imaging results from the original scans to determine the best course of treatment.
“We hope this study will prove that the Gallium 68 Scan offers patients and their physicians a better diagnostic option to detect these rare tumors earlier, thus potentially saving more lives,” said Dr. Richard Campeau, Professor of Radiology (Nuclear Medicine) and Principal Investigator of the study. “To have this national study right here in our community shows the strength of our program, the quality of our care and our reputation as a leader in this specialized field.”
The Gallium 68 Scan Study inclusion criteria includes:
- Known diagnosis of classical neuroendocrine tumor, such as medullary thyroid cancers, typical or atypical (bronchial, thymic or gastrointestinal) carcinoid tumors, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, patients with neuroendocrine metastases from an unknown primary tumor, or patients with clinical “carcinoid syndrome” and elevated blood markers (e.g. chromogranin A, plasma serotonin levels, etc.) characteristic of neuroendocrine tumors with no known primary tumor site.
- At least 18 years of age
- Able to provide informed consent
- Karnofsky score greater than 50
- Females of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test at screening/baseline
The Ochsner NET Program is an affiliation between Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner and Louisiana State University since 2006 and is one of the largest multidisciplinary programs in the country. It takes a multidisciplinary team approach to treating neuroendocrine tumor patients and their long-term follow-up care. Since its inception, the Ochsner NET Program has seen over 2,400 new patients. The program’s 5, 10 and 20 year survival rates are among the best in the United States and have been featured in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
The Gallium 68 Study is offered through Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner, located at 200 West Esplanade Avenue, Suite 200 in Kenner, Louisiana. For more information on the study, call 504-464-8500 or 1-866-91-ZEBRA (93272). Visit our website at www.ochsner.org/NETS or like us on Facebook @ facebook.com.nolanets for up to date information.