Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs)?

The signs and symptoms of GEP-NETs include cramps, abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. These symptoms may be confused with those of other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. As a result, GEP-NETs are often misdiagnosed. However, there are special blood tests that can help your care team make the right diagnosis. Often, your care team will use a combination of tests and scans to diagnose, monitor, and treat GEP-NETs. These may include imaging tests, biopsy, or tumor marker tests.

Your care team will decide which, if any, of these and other tests are appropriate for you. Your care team will likely ask you questions about your medical history before starting any testing.

Imaging tests

Diagnostic imaging tests let your care team see inside your body to learn more about your medical condition. These tests create pictures of different parts of your body and how they are functioning. Types of imaging tests include:

  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)

PET imaging lets your care team see how your body is functioning and to measure how well it is working at the cellular level. This means they can find changes in your body’s cells early in the disease—well before structural changes can be seen on a CT or MRI test.

Biopsy

If your care team thinks you have a GEP-NET, they might take a sample of tissue from the suspected tumor in your body. This is usually done by a method called a fine needle biopsy. The doctor will insert a thin needle into the tumor to get the sample. The sample is then examined under a microscope.

Tumor marker tests

Tumor markers are chemicals in your blood or urine that can be measured by your care team. They may indicate if you have a GEP-NET. To do the test, a doctor will take samples of your blood or urine. A specialist, called a pathologist, will then examine them to look for certain NET markers.

What is LUTATHERA?

LUTATHERA® (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with a type of cancer known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) that are positive for the hormone receptor somatostatin, including GEP-NETs in the foregut, midgut, and hindgut.

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