Islet cell tumors; Islet of Langerhans tumor; Neuroendocrine tumors
Definition of Pancreatic islet cell tumor
A pancreatic islet cell is a rare tumor of the pancreas that starts from a type of cell called the islet cell.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
In the normal pancreas, cells called islet cells produce hormones that regulate a variety of bodily functions, such as blood sugar level and the production of stomach acid.
Symptoms are caused by the hormone the tumor is producing.
Signs and tests
Blood tests may vary depending upon the symptoms, but may include:
Treatment will depend on the type of tumor and whether the tumor is noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Malignant tumors can spread to other organs, grow aggressively, and may not be treatable. Tumors are usually removed with surgery, if possible.
You may be cured if the tumors are surgically removed before they have spread to other organs. If tumors are cancerous, chemotherapy may be used, but it usually cannot cure patients.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/2/2010