Recruitment continues to progress for the NABNEC trial. The trial opened last year with participating centres in all six Australian states as well as New Zealand.
The NABNEC trial studies the treatment of neuroendocrine cancers (NECs), which are rare cancers that can develop from many organs. Reseachers expect recruitment to take two or three years altogether, as less than five people per 100,000 are diagnosed with a NEC. According to Principal Investigator Associate Professor Mustafa Khasraw, the rarity of this form of cancer is one of the reasons the trial is important.
“The best treatment approach for this kind of neuro-endocrine cancers is not entirely clear,” Associate Professor Khasraw says. “There’s a reason that we don’t have clear evidence to guide practice – because studies of rare cancers are more difficult than those of common cancers.”
The chemotherapy available for people with high grade neuroendocrine cancers results in responses of a short duration. After the initial response patients often relapse within a few months, and less than 5% of patients have a survival outcome of more than five years.
The NABNEC trial is a randomised study which will assess the most promising treatment. Two treatments will be assessed: carboplatin and etoposide chemotherapy, and carboplatin and nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy. The trial will aim to establish which treatment offers the best outcomes of survival. It will also monitor the side effects of each treatment. A significant aspect of the study is also forming a greater understanding of the biologic and imaging features of NECs. This understanding will inform future research to offer patients better prospects.
“This trial could lay the foundation for future study and also increase our understanding of why this disease is so aggressive,” says Associate Professor Khasraw.
Currently, 19 patients have been recruited out of a total of 72. The GI Cancer Institute has developed a recruitment video for NABNEC in collaboration with The Unicorn Foundation. Watch it below.
How the NABNEC trial works