Some cancers can be affected by hormones, which are chemicals produced by the body. Hormonal therapy is a way of treating these cancers.
Pancreatic cancers cannot be treated this way. However, hormonal therapy can be used to manage the symptoms of some pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs).
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands in the body. They travel in the bloodstream to tissues and organs in different parts of the body. They can affect how some cells grow and reproduce.
The body produces several different hormones. Each hormone only affects certain cells. These cells have receptors for that hormone.
Hormonal therapy for PNET symptoms
Some pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) release hormones which can cause symptoms of diarrhoea and flushing.
Somatostatin is a natural hormone that regulates these other hormones.
Somatostatin analogues are drugs that work like somatostatin. They are a type of hormonal therapy which helps to control these symptoms.
The most commonly used somatostatin analogues are:
- octreotide (Sandostatin)
- lanreotide (Somatuline).