Selective intra-arterial calcium stimulation test for the localization of insulinomas: an Australian hospital experience

ANZ J Surg. 2020 Dec;90(12):E172-E176. doi: 10.1111/ans.15913. Epub 2020 May 1.


Background: Insulinomas are rare tumours of the pancreas and the most common cause of hypoglycaemia in non-diabetic adults. They can be cured by surgery but require precise localization. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of the selective intra-arterial calcium stimulation test (SIACST) in patients with an insulinoma to correctly localize the tumour.

Methods: Medical records of patients with a diagnosis of insulinoma or who underwent an SIACST were retrospectively reviewed. Localization of lesions by SIACST was compared to endoscopic ultrasound and radionuclide imaging studies and verified against findings at surgery.

Results: A total of 24 patients (mean age 58 years, 16 females, 20 with insulinoma) underwent SIACST. The SIACST correctly localized the insulinoma in 17 of 20 patients (85%). Localization rate for computed tomography was 55% and 75% for endoscopic ultrasound and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor scan.

Conclusion: SIACST provided incremental diagnostic information in patients with insulinoma who had equivocal non-invasive imaging preoperatively. This technique remains an essential diagnostic tool when a lesion is not localized by other methods.

Keywords: endocrine surgery; endoscopic ultrasound; insulinoma; localization; selective intra-arterial calcium stimulation test.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Calcium
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Insulin
  • Insulinoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Insulinoma* / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Insulin
  • Calcium