Browsing Medical Oncology by Subjects
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A patient with a metastatic gastroenteropancreatic endocrine carcinoma causing hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia and the carcinoid syndrome.We present the case of a 57-year-old patient who initially presented with a constellation of symptoms including intense pruritis, flushing and diarrhoea. Following several months clinical deterioration, the patient was investigated radiologically, where multiple hepatic tumours were identified. Liver biopsy confirmed the presence of a well-differentiated metastatic gastroenteropancreatic endocrine carcinoma with biochemical evidence of serotonin secretion. Over a period of six months, the clinical course of the patient's disease progressed whereby severe hypoglycaemia became the major manifestation. Subsequent biochemical investigations confirmed the diagnosis of an insulinoma. Extensive radiological investigation revealed a solitary primary pancreatic tumour, indicating the presence of a metastatic pancreatic endocrine tumour (PET) secreting both insulin and serotonin. The patient was treated with a chemotherapy regimen consisting of 12 cycles of 5-fluorouracil/oxaliplatin, responding clinically - improved World Health Organization performance score from 3 to 1, biochemically - significantly reduced plasma chromogranin A and cancer antigen 19-9 concentrations and improved liver function tests, and radiologically - reduced pancreatic and hepatic tumour size. This is the first report of a primary PET secreting insulin and serotonin. Due to the association of serotonin-secreting gastroenteropancreatic endocrine tumours (GEP-ETs) with multiple endocrine neoplasia type-1 (MEN1) and biochemical evidence of an insulinoma, MEN1 should also be considered in such cases. The case provides further evidence for the biological heterogeneity of GEP-ETs and the myriad secretory humoral products and resultant clinical syndromes arising from such tumours.