Silent Human Pancreatic Glucagonoma and "A" Nesidioblastosis

Pancreas. 1988;3(6):734-9. doi: 10.1097/00006676-198812000-00015.


Surgical fragments of healthy and tumor-bearing pancreas from a patient with pancreatic tumor were studied by electron or light microscopy, histochemistry, and immunocytochemistry (human insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, gastrin, and bovine pancreatic polypeptide). Histological results were compared to those obtained by radioimmunoassay, both in tumor and serum. The tumor was identified as a glucagonoma because reactions for Grimelius' silver impregnation and immunoreaction with an antiserum against glucagon were positive and because a very high level of glucagon in the tumor was observed. Insulin, somatostatin, and gastrin levels remained normal, both in tumor and serum, but the glucagon level was normal in serum. Associated with this silent glucagonoma, an uncommon nesidioblastosis was also diagnosed with many A cells irregularly mixed with acinar cells, isolated or clustered in small groups. Acinar "intermediate" cells of "A" type were also observed. Such associative histopathological processes evoked possible development of an endocrine tumor from nesidioblastic-like tissue. Its embryogenic origin remained uncertain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / complications*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glucagonoma / complications*
  • Glucagonoma / metabolism
  • Glucagonoma / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pancreatic Diseases / complications*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Diseases / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Radioimmunoassay