Boston University and Boston Medical Center
Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology; Co-Director of the Boston University/Boston Medical Center Cancer Center

NANETS is honored to present Matthew Kulke, MD, with the medical society's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Kulke was the first to report outcomes on a temozolomide-based regimen in NETs when describing his clinical trial of temozolomide plus thalidomide (Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2006), which demonstrated high rates of response in pancreatic NETs. Two years later, he was the first to describe the efficacy of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib in NETs (Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2008). The results of that phase II study formed the basis for development of an international phase III study to study sunitinib in pancreatic NETs, ultimately leading to the approval of sutent in that disease. Nearly a decade later, Dr. Kulke served as the lead investigator of the phase III TELESTAR trial (Kulke et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2017) which led to approval of telotristat for carcinoid-syndrome diarrhea.  Please click here to access Dr. Kulke's nearly 200 medical publications. 

Upon receiving word of the award, Dr. Kulke had this to say:“I am truly honored to receive this award from the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society. It has been a real privilege to be a part of NANETS as we have worked to improve and expand treatments for patients with neuroendocrine tumors. During our journey together I have gained not just colleagues but also friends, and I will be forever grateful to have had this opportunity.”For the past two decades, Dr. Kulke has been an academic leader in neuroendocrine oncology and a key figure behind many of the advancements in the field.  His impressive publication record in the NET field began auspiciously with an exceptional article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1999 on carcinoid tumors, summarizing the state of the science at the time. Twenty (20) years, and nearly 250 publications later, several achievements stand out.  

While speaking about how well-deserved this award is, NANETS' President, Emily Bergsland, MD, Medical Oncology, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine said, “This award is so well deserved! Dr. Kulke is one of the world’s leading authorities on neuroendocrine tumors, having spent more than two decades dedicated to advancing the care of NET patients. "He was one of the first providers to develop a multifaceted clinical and translational research program focused on NETs, and he led the development of the first NCCN treatment guidelines for the management of the disease. "His body of work includes lab-based molecular studies to characterize NETs, clinical trials with new therapeutic strategies, and clinical outcomes research.  A global leader, Dr. Kulke’s impact on the field has been profound."He has led or co-led clinical trials leading to the development of nearly every recent treatment advance (including sunitinib, everolimus temozolomide, telotristat ethyl, and peptide receptor radiotherapy).”

According to Jennifer Chan, MD, MPH, Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and NANETS board member, Matthew Kulke, MD's scientific accomplishments were not confined to clinical trials. "At Dana Farber, he mentored a team of clinicians and scientists which published multiple findings on chromosomal alterations in NETs, on dysregulation of CDKN1B, on tumor microenvironment, on mTOR pathway expression, and many other discoveries which have shaped our understanding of NETs on a molecular level.“Dr. Kulke has had a tremendous impact on the field of neuroendocrine tumors and the care of patients with this disease. His investigations have led to the approval of new treatments and have improved our understanding of tumor biology.  "As a past chair of the National Cancer Institute task force on NETs, his leadership and expertise shaped the direction of future clinical trials in NET.  As a mentor, Dr. Kulke has also inspired, encouraged, and guided the next generation of clinicians and scientists to advance the field of NET.” Dr. Kulke was among the founders of NANETS and served as one of the first chairs of the organization. He also chaired the National Cancer Institute (NCI) task force on NETs, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) NET guidelines committee, and served as a key figure in many other NET research, advocacy and patient support organizations.

Jonathan Strosberg, MD, Medical Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center and NANETS' vice president, had this to say about his colleague:“Matt Kulke has transformed the NET field by investigating new drugs that have substantially improved the treatment landscape for patients with advanced disease.  His contributions to clinical research have been extraordinary.”