Insulinoma: pathophysiology, localization and management

Future Oncol. 2010 Feb;6(2):229-37. doi: 10.2217/fon.09.165.


Insulinoma is a rare neuroendocrine tumor that causes oversecretion of insulin and, as a result, patients present with symptoms of hypoglycemia. Fortunately, insulinomas are usually benign and solitary, and surgical cure rates are highly favorable. Most of these tumors occur sporadically, but they can also be associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia type-1 syndrome. The diagnosis is confirmed by a supervised fast, and early detection is important. Several preoperative and intraoperative techniques with various success rates have been employed in order to localize the lesion. When technically feasible, tumor enucleation is the procedure of choice; however, a more formal resection may be necessary for certain tumors. In the age of laparoscopy, the role of laparoscopic surgery in the management of insulinomas is continuing to attract attention. This review will discuss the historical background, pathogenesis, diagnosis, localization and management of insulinomas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Insulinoma*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms*