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Hepatogastroenterology. 2005 Nov-Dec;52(66):1668-76.

Gastrinomas associated with MEN-1 syndrome: new insights for the diagnosis and management in a series of 11 patients.

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Section of Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrinology, First Department of Propaedeutic Internal Medicine, Athens University Medical School, Laiko Hospital, Greece.



Approximately, 25-30% of patients (pts) have gastrinomas, (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, ZES), as part of the inherited syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 (MEN-1). The identification of MEN-1 syndrome in these pts is always important, as there are some differences in their management and prognosis. Among 33 pts with ZES, we present in this study 11 pts with ZES and MEN-1 syndrome, describing our diagnostic and therapeutic approach.


Eleven pts with ZES and MEN-1 syndrome (6 females and 5 males) were included (mean age 51.8 years). The diagnosis of ZES was based upon: a) clinical features and b) high serum gastrin levels, while in 7/11 pts diagnosis was confirmed histopathologically. A variety of other gastrointestinal peptides, as well as the general neuroendocrine tumor marker, Chromogranin-A (CgA) were also estimated. All pts underwent conventional imaging methods (CT, MRI) and OCTREOSCAN or EUS when necessary, in order to localize the primary lesion or the metastases. The diagnosis of MEN-1 was based upon the presence of the other two MEN-1 related endocrinopathies (hyperparathyroidism, pituitary adenomas), revealed by estimation of several hormones (PTH, Prolactin, ACTH etc.) and performance of imaging studies of the pituitary and parathyroid glands. When MEN-1 syndrome was established, a familiar screening of pts was also performed, when possible. The mean duration of pts' follow-up was 6.1 years (range: 2.1-8.5 years).


At the time of presentation, 91% pts, had symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, refractory to treatment, while a history of colicky abdominal pain due to nephrolithiasis was also reported by 45% pts. Four of our pts had a blood relation. Serum gastrin levels at the time of diagnosis were greater than 1000pg/mL in 63.5% pts, while at the same time serum CgA levels were greater than 10 times the upper normal limit (<98ng/mL) in all pts. OCTREOSCAN and EUS revealed the primary tumor (in duodenum or pancreas) in 64% pts, in whom conventional methods showed no abnormalities at the same time. Parathyroid adenomas, pituitary adenomas and bronchial carcinoids were revealed in 11, 3 and 1 pts respectively, which were treated surgically. Also, surgical treatment of pancreatic or duodenal gastrinomas was performed in 54.5% pts, while pts who already had metastases (45%), or developed them during the follow-up period (18%), were treated by somatostatin analogues (63.6%) and chemotherapy (27.3%). Ten out of 11 pts are alive and in a good condition, whereas 1 patient died 2.8 years after diagnosis. Familiar screening revealed parathyroid adenomas in 4 children of our pts, which were treated surgically.


MEN-1 syndrome should always be considered in pts with ZES. A precise preoperative localization of all pancreaticoduodenal lesions, in combination with a surgical exploration and management by experienced surgeons, seems to be curative in pts without distal metastases. Non-surgical treatment with somatostatin analogues and chemotherapy in pts with progressive disease seem to stabilize the disease, although further studies are needed. A close clinical and biochemical follow-up of all pts, as well as their family members, is necessary in order to reveal and treat all MEN-1 related endocrinopathies and especially PETs, in an early stage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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