Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Miscellaneous Islet Cell Tumors
Immediate fluid resuscitation is often necessary to correct the electrolyte and fluid problems that occur as a result of the watery diarrhea, hypokalemia, and achlorhydria that patients experience. Somatostatin analogs are also used to ameliorate the large fluid and electrolyte losses. Once patients are stabilized, excision of the primary tumor and regional nodes is the first line of therapy for clinically localized disease. In the case of locally advanced or metastatic disease, where curative resection is not possible, debulking and removal of gross disease, including metastases, should be considered to alleviate the characteristic manifestations of VIP overproduction. (Refer to the Treatment Option Overview section of this summary for information about the remaining principles of therapy.)
Sedation may be considered for comfort.
Patients with advanced cancer or near the end of life may have:
A lot of emotional distress and physical pain.
Difficult and painful breathing.
Confusion (especially when body systems begin to fail).
Sedation can be given to ease these conditions. This is called palliative sedation. Deciding to use palliative sedation may be difficult for the family as well as the patient. The patient and family can get support from the health care team and...
Complete excision is the therapy of choice, if technically possible. However, metastases often preclude curative resection, and palliative debulking can be considered to relieve symptoms. (Refer to the Treatment Option Overview section of this summary for information about the remaining principles of therapy.)
Other Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors
For these very rare tumors, complete surgical excision is the only curative option when technically possible, and debulking or somatostatin analogs are used for palliation of symptoms if the tumor is functional. (Refer to the Treatment Option Overview section of this summary for information about the remaining principles of therapy.)
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with islet cell tumor. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Davies K, Conlon KC: Neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 11 (2): 119-27, 2009.