Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Last updated: April 11, 2023

Summarytoggle arrow icon

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) are hormone-secreting tumors of the pancreas that derive from neuroendocrine cells. The most important types are glucagonomas, VIPomas, somatostatinomas, insulinomas (treated in a separate article), and gastrinomas (treated in a separate article). With the exception of insulinomas, PNETs typically manifest with diarrhea, weight loss, and normal or elevated blood glucose levels; insulinomas do not affect bowel movements and manifest instead with weight gain and hypoglycemia. Diagnosis involves laboratory studies to identify excess hormone levels and imaging to detect the primary tumor and metastases. Surgical resection is the first-line treatment. Octreotide is the treatment of choice for inoperable tumors.

For more information, see “Insulinoma” and “Gastrinoma.”

Overviewtoggle arrow icon

Overview of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
Affected cells Blood glucose Diarrhea Other clinical features Associated conditions
  • No
  • Normal
  • Nerve fibers innervating islets [1]

Glucagonomatoggle arrow icon

“Wait for 6 Days until the GLUe (glucagonoma) is dry:” Decreasing weight, Diabetes, Dermatitis, Diarrhea, DVT, Depression.


Somatostatinomatoggle arrow icon


VIPomatoggle arrow icon

Referencestoggle arrow icon

  1. Havel PJ, Dunning BE, Verchere CB, Baskin DG, O'Dorisio T, Taborsky GJ Jr. Evidence that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide is a parasympathetic neurotransmitter in the endocrine pancreas in dogs.. Regul Pept. 1997; 71 (3): p.163-70.doi: 10.1016/s0167-0115(97)01014-8 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  2. Abdullayeva L. VIPoma: Mechanisms, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment (Review). World Academy of Sciences Journal. 2019.doi: 10.3892/wasj.2019.22 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  3. John AM, Schwartz RA. Glucagonoma syndrome: a review and update on treatment. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016; 30 (12): p.2016-2022.doi: 10.1111/jdv.13752 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  4. Grozinsky-Glasberg S, Mazeh H, Gross DJ. Clinical features of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Sciences. 2015; 22 (8): p.578-585.doi: 10.1002/jhbp.226 . | Open in Read by QxMD

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