What are the Risks?

As with most, if not all, of the treatment options open to neuroendocrine tumor patients, there are risks associated with using PRRT to treat metastasized tumors. The greatest risks arise from radiation toxicity affecting three things: 1) the blood system producing Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Blood Platelets, 2) the functioning of the kidneys and 3) the functioning of the liver.

At one time kidney impairment or renal insufficiency was a significant risk, but as methods of protecting the kidney during PRRT became better refined, this risk has greatly diminished. Now, all medical centers administering PRRT take very specific measures to protect the kidneys using forms of amino acids infused before and after the treatment.

While specific protective measures have not been developed for the liver or for the blood system. Better control over radiation dosage helps to reduce toxicity from the radiation.


What are the Side Effects?

Each patient is different in terms of how they react to PRRT, but there are some side-effects that are more commonly and less commonly observed among patients. The duration of these side effects can vary greatly from a few hours to many days. Patients getting PRRT should probably consider having some medications on hand for nausea and pain to be taken on the return trip to their home. Typically if a patient expriences nausea, vomiting or pain during the actual administration of the PRRT, then medication is immediately provided to the patient.

The More Common Side-effects are:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Abdominal discomfort or pain

The Less Common Side-effects are:

• Subacute hematological toxicity

• Temporary hair loss

In some cases there is delayed toxicity to the kidneys and renal insufficiency is experienced.

Serious hematologic toxicity is rare.