Endocrine tumours of the pancreas

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Oct;19(5):753-81. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2005.06.002.


Endocrine pancreatic tumours (EPTs) are uncommon tumours occurring in approximately 1 in 100,000 of the population, representing 1-2% of all pancreatic neoplasms. Some of the tumours may be part of multiple endocrine neoplasia type one (MEN-1) syndrome or von Hippel-Lindau (vHL) disease. EPTs are classified as functioning or non-functioning tumours on the basis of their clinical manifestation. The biochemical diagnosis of EPT is based on hormones and amines released. Besides specific markers such as insulin, there are also general tumour markers such as chromogranin A, which is the most valuable marker and has been reported to be increased in plasma in 50-80% of patients with EPTs and correlates with tumour burden. The location of endocrine tumours of the pancreas includes different techniques, from endoscopic investigations to scintigraphy (e.g. somatostatin receptor scintigraphy) and positron emission tomography. The medical treatment of endocrine pancreatic tumours consists of chemotherapy, somatostatin analogues and alpha-interferon. None of these can cure a patient with malignant disease. In future, therapy will be custom-made and based on current knowledge of tumour biology and molecular genetics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gastrinoma / drug therapy
  • Gastrinoma / epidemiology
  • Gastrinoma / pathology
  • Glucagonoma / drug therapy
  • Glucagonoma / epidemiology
  • Glucagonoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Incidence
  • Insulinoma / drug therapy
  • Insulinoma / epidemiology
  • Insulinoma / pathology
  • Male
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Somatostatinoma / drug therapy
  • Somatostatinoma / epidemiology
  • Somatostatinoma / pathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome / pathology