Advanced Treatment Options for Endocrine Tumors

Tumors found in the hormone-producing glands of the endocrine system are rare and can be complex to treat. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment from a center with experience and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine tumors.

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to new treatment options for patients with endocrine tumors. Hoag is on the forefront of many of these advanced therapeutic options and is committed to providing the latest advances in care to our patients.

Hoag’s Endocrine Tumors Program provides a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of endocrine tumors in the thyroid, parathyroids, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, intestines and pancreas. Our team of physician specialists consist of fellowship trained surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, advanced endoscopists, and endocrinologists who work together to develop comprehensive, individualized treatment plans for each patient. Hoag’s team also includes nurses, support staff and other professionals who help patients and their families cope with the emotional and practical aspects of the disease.

Hoag Family Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care tailored to each patient. Your treatment may include one or more of the following modalities:

Surgical Treatment

In most cases, surgery is the primary form of treatment for endocrine tumors and offers the best outcome. Your surgeon will determine the best surgical approach based on the type of tumor, its location, size, and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body. Hoag’s endocrine surgeons employ minimally invasive approaches whenever possible.

Because endocrine tumors are rare, it is important to seek care from a surgeon who is experienced and knowledgeable about your disease. At Hoag, our surgeons are subspecialty trained in endocrine surgery and often operate on patients with advanced endocrine cancer.

  • Transoral Thyroidectomy - Hoag first in Southern California to perform transoral endoscopic thyroidectomy, a scarless approach to removing the thyroid gland.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be used in the treatment of some endocrine tumors depending on the stage of the cancer. Chemotherapy uses drugs that destroy cancer cells or stop them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken orally or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach the body. This is called systemic therapy. Chemotherapy drugs may be given on their own or in combination with other anti-cancer drugs. Newer targeted agents may be offered that exploit genetic vulnerabilities in the cancer cells and generally have less toxic side-effects for the patient. Where possible, the patients may have genetic analysis of their cancer samples to help doctors select the best treatment for them, a process known as Precision Medicine.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy cancer cells or stop their growth while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.

External beam radiation therapy uses sophisticated machines to aim high-energy rays or beams from outside the body into the tumor. External beam radiation may be used in the treatment of certain endocrine tumors. Hoag Radiation Oncology offers the most comprehensive selection of advanced radiation technology in Orange County.

For patients with thyroid cancer, radioative iodine is administered as an oral pill and is taken up by cancer cells and designed to kill the cancer cells selectively. Hoag became one of first hospitals in the county to use a new FDA-approved liquid form of radiation called Lutathera™ to treat patients with metastatic carcinoid and pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. This treatment guides the radiative particle 177Lutium to the tumor cells by binding to a cell surface protein unique to these cancer cells.

Research and Clinical Trials

Recent scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of endocrine tumors are expanding treatment options for some patients. Hoag Family Cancer Institute is committed to providing patients access to the newest and most promising therapies close to home.

Hoag is a member of the International Thyroid Oncology Group (ITOG) and A5 Alliance for adrenal cancer. These consortiums bring together leading physicians, scientists, and advocates to facilitate groundbreaking clinical research to deliver the latest scientific advances to patients. Through Hoag’s participation, patients eligible for a clinical trial have access to some therapies that are not available anywhere else in Orange County or even Southern California.

Hoag Family Cancer Institute also offers phase I and II clinical trials through a special alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center that test new anti-cancer therapies. If you are eligible to participate in a clinical trial, you may have access to new treatment options that are not widely available.