Intravenous calcium injection test is a novel complementary procedure in differential diagnosis for gastrinoma

World J Surg. 2002 Oct;26(10):1291-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-002-6528-9. Epub 2002 Sep 4.


The current study evaluated efficacy of the intravenous calcium injection test as a new diagnostic approach to clarify the existence of gastrinoma, which often goes undetected with routine testing. Twenty-six patients with hypergastrinemia were studied. For the calcium injection test, blood samples were taken from 12 patients with hypergastrinemia (HG), and three healthy volunteers, and one patient with nonfunctioning endocrine tumor in the pancreas (control). We compared results of the calcium injection test with those of the secretin test and the selective arterial secretagogue injection (SASI) test. The SASI test with secretin was performed in 24 of 26 patients with hypergastrinemia, including 22 of 24 patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES). Accuracy in the diagnosis of tumor localization by the SASI test was 95% (21 of 22) in ZES patients. The secretin test was negative in 3 of 21 patients with ZES (14%). Either the secretin test or the SASI test was positive in 22 of 23 patients (96%). The calcium injection test was administered to 12 patients in the HG group and 4 controls. The HG group showed significantly higher serum gastrin levels than those of the control group in the calcium injection test. Eight of 10 ZES patients (80%) had a positive calcium injection test. We could diagnose gastrinomas in 100% of ZES patients by either the calcium injection test or the secretin test. We have thus confirmed the efficacy of the intravenous calcium injection test in the diagnosis of gastrinoma. The calcium injection test could become an adjunct in the diagnosis of gastrinoma, which often goes undetected with routine testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium* / administration & dosage
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gastrinoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Function Tests*
  • Secretin
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome / diagnosis*


  • Secretin
  • Calcium