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Understanding the Disease

Advanced Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

What Is Advanced Pancreatic NET?

Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) can occur in different parts of your body. If they originate in the pancreas, they are called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors or PNET. In patients with advanced PNET, the tumor cells have spread to other organs in the body.

What Are Neuroendocrine Cells?

Your endocrine system and nervous system work together to regulate different activities that occur within your body.

The endocrine system uses chemical messengers called hormones, while the nervous system uses electrical and chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

Neuroendocrine cells are specialized cells (in the endocrine system and throughout the body) that release hormones in response to messages they receive from the nervous system. Hormones control many processes in the body, including growth and development.

If neuroendocrine cells start to grow out of control, they can form tumors.

What Are the Types of Advanced PNET?

Advanced PNET can be functional or nonfunctional.

  • Functional PNET make hormones that cause disease symptoms
  • Nonfunctional PNET do not make extra hormones, but can produce other symptoms as tumors spread and grow. This makes nonfunctional PNET hard to detect

AFINITOR is not indicated for the treatment of patients with functional carcinoid tumors.

Understanding How a Tumor Starts to Grow

Cells divide to make new cells when needed. They stop dividing when there are enough cells. Tumors form when cells do not stop dividing even after there are enough cells.

Cells that change and continue to divide after there are enough cells can produce an uncontrolled growth that may lead to cancer. These cells build up into a tumor (an abnormal growth of tissue) that is either benign (a growth that is not cancer) or malignant (a mass that is cancer and that continues to grow and spread to other parts of the body).