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Islet Cell Tumors (Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors)

A tumor that forms in islet cells (hormone-making cells) of the pancreas. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors form in hormone-making cells (islet cells) of the pancreas.

The pancreas is a gland about 6 inches long that is shaped like a thin pear lying on its side. The wider end of the pancreas is called the head, the middle section is called the body, and the narrow end is called the tail. The pancreas lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine.

There are two kinds of cells in the pancreas:

Read more about Islet Cell Tumors

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation in the Pediatric Population [Internet]

Assess comparative benefits and harms of hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) versus standard therapies or disease natural history in pediatric (age ≤21 years) patients with malignant solid tumors, inherited metabolic diseases, or autoimmune diseases.

Drug Class Review: Newer Diabetes Medications, TZDs, and Combinations: Final Original Report [Internet]

To compare the effectiveness and adverse event profiles of amylin agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, incretin mimetics, TZDs, and certain combination products for people with type 2 diabetes and for people with type 1 diabetes for pramlintide only.

Oral Diabetes Medications for Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: An Update [Internet]

Given the number of medications available for type 2 diabetes mellitus, clinicians and patients need information about their effectiveness and safety to make informed choices. The objective of this review was to summarize the benefits and harms of medications (metformin, second-generation sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, meglitinides, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 [DPP-4] inhibitors, and glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP-1] receptor agonists), as monotherapy and in combination, for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes.

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Summaries for consumers

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors).

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Terms to know

Endocrine Glands
A group of specialized cells that release hormones into the blood. For example, the islets in the pancreas, which secrete insulin, are endocrine glands.
A tumor that causes overproduction of gastric acid.
A chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.
A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.
Neuroendocrine Cells
Cells that release hormones into the blood in response to stimulation of the nervous system.
An organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.
Tumor (Neoplasm)
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.

More about Islet Cell Tumors

Photo of an adult

Also called: Islet cell tumours, Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, Pancreatic endocrine tumours, Tumours of the endocrine pancreas, Pancreatic endocrine tumors, Neoplasms of the islets of Langerhans, Islet cell neoplasms, Tumors of the endocrine pancreas, Islet cell carcinoma, Pancreatic endocrine cancer, Pancreatic NETs

Other terms to know: See all 7
Endocrine Glands, Gastrinoma, Hormones

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