If you have certain types of tumors or cancer, your healthcare provider may prescribe Afinitor. This medicine works to slow down the growth of cancer cells by blocking the action of certain enzymes in the body. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend off-label uses for Afinitor, such as for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is Afinitor Used For?Afinitor® (everolimus) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as kinase inhibitors. It is approved for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Advanced neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin (PNET), a rare type of cancer of the pancreas
- Advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of kidney cancer, that has not adequately responded to certain other medications
- Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA), a type of brain tumor, or renal angiomyolipoma, a type of kidney tumor, that occurs in people with a rare genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis
- Certain types of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have not responded to certain other medications.
Treating Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors With Afinitor
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are found in certain tissues of the pancreas where hormones are produced (called the endocrine pancreas). These cells are called "islet cells."
PNET should not be confused with the more common pancreatic cancer that occurs in the exocrine pancreas, or the part of the pancreas where digestive juices are produced. PNET is also sometimes called pancreatic islet cell cancer (see Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer for more information).
Surgical removal of the cancerous tumors is the most common treatment for PNET. However, surgical removal is not always an option. In many cases, pancreatic cancer has spread beyond the pancreas before a diagnosis is made. Once the cancer has spread to other areas of the body (metastasized), the goal of treatment is to slow down its progression and control symptoms.
Afinitor is approved to treat locally advanced (cancer that has spread just beyond the pancreas to the surrounding areas) or metastatic PNET that cannot be treated with surgery. The drug may slow down the progression of PNET by delaying the growth of tumors.