Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) are a rare and heterogeneous class of neoplasms. While surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment, non-surgical therapies play a role in the setting of unresectable and metastatic disease. The goals of medical therapy are directed both at alleviating symptoms of peptide release and shrinking tumor mass. Biotherapies such as somatostatin analogs and interferon can decrease the secretion of peptides and inhibit their end-organ effects. A second objective for treatment of unresectable GEP-NETs is limiting tumor growth. Options for limiting tumor growth include somatostatin analogs, systemic chemotherapy, locoregional therapies, ionizing radiation, external beam radiation, and newer targeted agents. In particular, angiogenesis inhibitors, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and mTOR inhibitors have shown early promising results. The rarity of these tumors, their resistance to standard chemotherapy, and the excellent performance status of most of these patients, make a strong argument for consideration of novel therapeutic trials.
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