Intestinal proliferation and delayed intestinal transit in a patient with a GLP-1-, GLP-2- and PYY-producing neuroendocrine carcinoma

Digestion. 2001;63(1):61-8. doi: 10.1159/000051874.


Glucagon-like peptides (GLP) 1 and 2 are hormones derived from the post-translational processing of proglucagon in the intestinal L cells that influence intestinal motility and small bowel growth, respectively. We describe a patient with a neuroendocrine tumor of unknown primary origin with peritoneal carcinomatosis and diffuse liver metastases, who presented with constipation and nocturnal itching for over 3 years. Small bowel follow-through showed decreased small intestinal motility and marked intestinal hypertrophy. Biopsies from mesenterial lymph nodes showed, histologically, a well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumor (G1), with positive immunostaining for chromogranin A, GLP-1, GLP-2 and polypeptide YY (PYY). Jejunal biopsy demonstrated marked intestinal mucosal hypertrophy. HPLC analysis combined with RIA of tumor and serum extracts revealed that the tumor was producing and releasing fasting levels of GLP-1 of 738+/-20.7 pg/ml (normal levels (nl) <100 pg/ml), GLP-2 of 3,150+/-9 pg/ml (nl <100 pg/ml) as well as PYY 550 pg/ml (nl <100 pg/ml). Octreotide administration decreased levels of GLP-1 and GLP-2 and reduced small intestinal transit time from 150 to 50 min. However, tumor growth was not inhibited by octreotide, interferon or dacarbazine therapy and the patient died 8 months later. This is the first case report demonstrating the overproduction of GLP-1, GLP-2 and PYY from an neuroendocrine tumor, in a patient with intestinal hypertrophy and delayed intestinal transit time.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Glucagon / metabolism*
  • Glucagon / pharmacology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestine, Small / physiology
  • Jejunum / cytology
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Unknown Primary*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / complications
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*
  • Protein Precursors / pharmacology


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Peptides
  • Protein Precursors
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon