Other treatments for advanced pancreatic NETs

Other treatments may be used to treat advanced pancreatic NETs that have spread to the liver. These treatments include:

Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation

Using an ultrasound or CT, a needle is inserted through the abdomen into the tumour. The needle sends out radio waves that produce heat and destroy the cancer cells.

Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation are performed under local anaesthetic.


In this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver. A chemotherapy drug is released into the artery, along with tiny particles called microspheres, which block the flow of blood into the tumour. This causes the tumour to shrink.

Chemo-embolisation is performed under local anaesthetic and you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) 

This treatment is used for functioning and non-functioning pancreatic NETs that have receptors for the hormone somatostatin. You will be given amino acids to protect your kidney function. Then, a cell-targeting protein, or peptide, which is combined with a radioactive substance, is injected into the blood stream.

Each session lasts around four hours, and most people have a few sessions over several weeks or months.

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This information was last reviewed in February 2016.
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