Background In patients with metastatic neuroendocrine neoplasms, the liver is the most commonly affected organ and a crucial factor for prognosis and survival. Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy can prolong progression-free survival in these patients. Additional treatment of liver disease might further improve outcomes. We aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of additional holmium-166 (¹⁶⁶Ho) radioembolisation after peptide receptor radionuclide therapy in patients with metastatic liver neuroendocrine neoplasms. Methods The Holmium Embolization Particles for Arterial Radiotherapy Plus ¹⁷⁷Lu-Dotatate in Salvage Neuroendocrine Tumour Patients (HEPAR PLuS) study was a single-centre, phase 2 study done at the University Medical Center Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands). Patients, aged at least 18 years, with histologically proven grade 1 or 2 neuroendocrine neoplasms of all origins, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0–2, and three or more measurable liver metastases according to Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1 criteria received ¹⁶⁶Ho-radioembolisation within 20 weeks after four cycles of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (lutetium-177-dotatate [¹⁷⁷Lu-dotatate]). The primary endpoint was objective liver tumour response in the treated liver volume, defined as complete response (disappearance of all lesions) or partial response (≥30% decrease in the sum of the longest diameters of the target lesions, compared with baseline measurements), according to RECIST 1.1, analysed per protocol at 3 months. Safety was assessed in all patients who received treatment. This study is registered with, NCT02067988. Recruitment is completed and long-term follow-up is ongoing. Findings From Oct 15, 2014, to Sept 12, 2018, 34 patients were assessed for eligibility. 31 patients received treatment and 30 (97%) patients were available for primary endpoint assessment and completed 6 months of follow-up. Three (9%) patients were excluded at screening and one (3%) patient was treated and died before the primary endpoint and was replaced. According to the per-protocol analysis 13 (43%; 95% CI 26–63) of 30 patients achieved an objective response in the treated volume. The most frequently reported Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) grade 3–4 clinical and laboratory toxicities within 6 months included abdominal pain (three [10%] of 31 patients), increased γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (16 [54%]), and lymphocytopenia (seven [23%]). One (3%) fatal treatment-related serious adverse event occurred (radioembolisation-induced liver disease). Two (6%) patients had serious adverse events deemed to be unrelated to treatment (gastric ulcer and perforated cholecystitis). Interpretation ¹⁶⁶Ho-radioembolisation, as an adjunct to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasm liver metastases, is safe and efficacious. Radioembolisation can be considered in patients with bulky liver disease, including after peptide receptor radionuclide therapy. A future randomised, controlled study should investigate the added benefit of this treatment on progression-free survival.

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Journal The Lancet Oncology
Braat, A., Bruijnen, R.C.G., Rooij, R., Braat, M., Wessels, F.J., Van Leeuwaarde, RS, … Lam, M.H. (2020). Additional holmium-166 radioembolisation after lutetium-177-dotatate in patients with neuroendocrine tumour liver metastases (HEPAR PLuS): a single-centre, single-arm, open-label, phase 2 study. The Lancet Oncology, 21(4), 561–570. doi:10.1016/s1470-2045(20)30027-9