Introduction: The role of pharmacotherapy in the management of patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is often equated with the medical management of acid hypersecretion. However, pharmacotherapy is also increasingly involved in the other management areas of these patients.
Areas covered: This paper reviews the role of pharmacotherapy in all aspects of the management of patients with ZES. Newer aspects are emphasized. This includes the difficulty of diagnosing ZES in patients taking proton pump inhibitors. Also covered is the role of pharmacotherapy in controlling acid hypersecretion and other hormonal hypersecretory states these patients may develop, including hyperparathyroidism in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and ZES; tumor localization; and the treatment of advanced metastatic disease. The last includes chemotherapy, liver-directed therapies, biotherapy (somatostatin/interferon), peptide radio-receptor therapy and molecular-targeted therapies including the use of mTor inhibitors (everolimus) and tyrosine kinase inhibitors (sunitinib).
Expert opinion: Pharmacotherapy is now involved in all aspects of the management of patients with ZES, with the result that ZES has progressed from being considered an entirely surgical disease initially to the present where medical treatment plays a major role in almost all aspects of the management of these patients.