BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPancreatic islet cell tumorCancer - pancreas; Cancer - pancreatic; Pancreatic cancer; Islet cell tumors; Islet of Langerhans tumor; Neuroendocrine tumors; Peptic ulcer - islet cell tumor; Hypoglycemia - islet cell tumor; Zollinger-Ellison syndrome; Verner-Morrison syndrome; Gastrinoma; Insulinoma; VIPoma; Somatostatinoma; GlucagonomaA pancreatic islet cell tumor is a rare tumor of the pancreas that starts from a type of cell called the islet cell.TumorA tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).Read Article Now Book Mark Article Causes In the healthy pancreas, cells called islet cells produce hormones that regulate several bodily functions. These include blood sugar level and the production of stomach acid.Tumors that arise from islet cells of the pancreas can also produce a variety of hormones, which can lead to specific symptoms. Pancreatic islet cell tumors can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).BenignBenign refers to a condition, tumor, or growth that is not cancerous. This means that it does not spread to other parts of the body. It does not in...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Islet cell tumors include:Gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome) Zollinger-Ellison syndromeZollinger-Ellison syndrome is a condition in which the body produces too much of the hormone gastrin. Most of the time, a small tumor (gastrinoma) i...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Glucagonoma GlucagonomaGlucagonoma is a very rare tumor of the islet cells of the pancreas, which leads to an excess of the hormone glucagon in the blood.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Insulinoma InsulinomaAn insulinoma is a tumor in the pancreas that produces too much insulin.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Somatostatinoma VIPoma (Verner-Morrison syndrome)A family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I (MEN I) is a risk factor for the development of islet cell tumors.EndocrineEndocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream. The endocrine glands include:AdrenalHypothalamusIslets of Langerhans in the pancrea...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article MEN IMultiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type I is a disease in which one or more of the endocrine glands are overactive or forms a tumor. It is passed do...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Symptoms Symptoms depend on which hormone is made by the tumor.For example, insulinomas produce insulin, which lowers blood sugar level. Symptoms may include: Feeling tired or weak Shaking or sweating Headache Hunger Nervousness, anxiety, or feeling irritable Unclear thinking or feeling uneasy Double or blurry vision Fast or pounding heartbeatIf your blood sugar level gets too low, you may faint, have a seizure, or even go into a coma.Gastrinomas make the hormone gastrin, which tells the body to make stomach acid. Symptoms may include: Abdominal pain Diarrhea Ulcers in the stomach and small bowel Vomiting blood (occasionally)Glucagonomas make the hormone glucagon, which helps the body raise blood sugar level. Symptoms can include: Diabetes Red, blistery rash in the groin or buttocks Weight loss Frequent urination and thirstSomatostatinomas make the hormone somatostatin. Symptoms may include:High blood sugar Gallstones Yellowish appearance to skin, and eyes Weight loss Diarrhea with foul smelling stoolsVIPomas make the hormone vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) which is involved in maintaining the balance of salts, sodium, potassium and other minerals in the GI tract. VIPomas may cause:Severe diarrhea that may lead to dehydration Low blood potassium levels, and high calcium levels Abdominal cramps Weight loss Exams and Tests Your health care provider will take your medical history and perform a physical exam.Blood tests may vary, depending upon the symptoms, but may include:Fasting glucose level Fasting glucoseA blood sugar test measures the amount of a sugar called glucose in a sample of your blood. Glucose is a major source of energy for most cells of the...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gastrin level Gastrin levelThe gastrin blood test measures the amount of the hormone gastrin in blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Glucose tolerance test Glucose tolerance testThe glucose tolerance test is a lab test to check how your body moves sugar from the blood into tissues like muscle and fat. The test is often used ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Secretin stimulation test for pancreas Secretin stimulation testThe secretin stimulation test measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to a hormone called secretin. The small intestine produces secretin wh...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Blood glucagon level Blood glucagonA glucagon blood test measures the amount of a hormone called glucagon in your blood. Glucagon is produced by cells in the pancreas. It helps contr...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Blood insulin C-peptide Blood insulin C-peptideC-peptide is a substance that is created when the hormone insulin is produced and released into the body. The insulin C-peptide test measures the am...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Blood insulin level Fasting serum somatostatin level Serum vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) levelImaging tests may be done:Abdominal CT scan Abdominal CT scanAn abdominal CT scan is an imaging method. This test uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area. CT stands for computed tomog...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Abdominal ultrasound Abdominal ultrasoundAbdominal ultrasound is a type of imaging test. It is used to look at organs in the abdomen, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Endoscopic ultrasound UltrasoundUltrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article MRI of abdomenMRI of abdomenAn abdominal magnetic resonance imaging scan is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves. The waves create pictures of the inside ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A blood sample may also be taken from a vein in the pancreas for testing.Sometimes, surgery is needed to diagnose and treat this condition. During this procedure, the surgeon examines the pancreas by hand and with ultrasound. Treatment Treatment depends on the type of tumor and if it is cancerous. Cancerous tumors can grow quickly and spread to other organs. They may not be treatable. Tumors are often removed with surgery, if possible.If cancer cells spread to the liver, a part of the liver may also be removed, if possible. If the cancer is widespread, chemotherapy may be used to try and shrink the tumors.If the abnormal production of hormones is causing symptoms, you may receive medicines to counteract their effects. For example, with gastrinomas, the overproduction of gastrin leads to too much acid in the stomach. Medicines that block stomach acid release can reduce symptoms. Support Groups You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.Cancer support groupThe following organizations are good resources for information on cancer:American Cancer Society -- www. cancer. orgAmerican Childhood Cancer Organiz...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Outlook (Prognosis) You may be cured if the tumors are surgically removed before they have spread to other organs. If tumors are cancerous, chemotherapy may be used, but it usually cannot cure people.Life-threatening problems (such as very low blood sugar) can occur due to excess hormone production, or if the cancer spreads throughout the body. Possible Complications Complications of these tumors include: Diabetes Hormone crises (if the tumor releases certain types of hormones) Severe low blood sugar (from insulinomas) Severe ulcers in the stomach and small intestine (from gastrinomas) Spread of the tumor to the liver When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if you develop symptoms of these tumors, especially if you have a family history of MEN I. Prevention There is no known prevention for these tumors.Open ReferencesReferencesFoster DS, Norton JA. Management of pancreatic islet cell tumors excluding gastrinoma. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:581-584.National Cancer Institute website. Pancreatic cancer treatment (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/pancreatic/hp/pnet-treatment-pdq. Updated January 2, 2020. Accessed February 25, 2020.National Comprehensive Cancer Network website. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology (NCCN guidelines). Neuroendocrine and adrenal tumors. Version 1.2019. www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/neuroendocrine.pdf. Updated March 5, 2019. Accessed February 25, 2020.National Comprehensive Cancer Network website. NCCN guidelines for patients. Neuroendocrine tumors. 2018. www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/content/PDF/neuroendocrine-patient.pdf.AllVideoImagesTogEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationPancreas - illustration The pancreas is an elongated, tapered gland that is located behind the stomach and secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon.PancreasillustrationEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationPancreas - illustration The pancreas is an elongated, tapered gland that is located behind the stomach and secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon.PancreasillustrationRelated Information Tumor(Condition)Benign(Special Topic)Zollinger-Ellison syndrome(Condition)Endocrine glands(Special Topic)Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) I(Condition) Review Date: 2/6/2020 Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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