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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Treatment (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 08/25/2014

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Treatment Options for Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Gastrinoma
Insulinoma
Glucagonoma
Other Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)
Recurrent or Progressive Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)



Gastrinoma

Treatment of gastrinoma may include supportive care and the following:

  • For symptoms caused by too much stomach acid, treatment may be a drug that decreases the amount of acid made by the stomach.

  • For a single tumor in the head of the pancreas:
    • Surgery to remove the tumor.
    • Surgery to cut the nerve that causes stomach cells to make acid and treatment with a drug that decreases stomach acid.
    • Surgery to remove the whole stomach (rare).

  • For a single tumor in the body or tail of the pancreas, treatment is usually surgery to remove the body or tail of the pancreas.

  • For several tumors in the pancreas, treatment is usually surgery to remove the body or tail of the pancreas. If tumor remains after surgery, treatment may include either:
    • Surgery to cut the nerve that causes stomach cells to make acid and treatment with a drug that decreases stomach acid; or
    • Surgery to remove the whole stomach (rare).

  • For one or more tumors in the duodenum (the part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach), treatment is usually pancreatoduodenectomy (surgery to remove the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, nearby lymph nodes and part of the stomach, small intestine, and bile duct).

  • If no tumor is found, treatment may include the following:
    • Surgery to cut the nerve that causes stomach cells to make acid and treatment with a drug that decreases stomach acid.
    • Surgery to remove the whole stomach (rare).

  • If the cancer has spread to the liver, treatment may include:

  • If cancer has spread to other parts of the body or does not get better with surgery or drugs to decrease stomach acid, treatment may include:

  • If the cancer mostly affects the liver and the patient has severe symptoms from hormones or from the size of tumor, treatment may include:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with gastrinoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Insulinoma

Treatment of insulinoma may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with insulinoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Glucagonoma

Treatment may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with glucagonoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Other Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)

For VIPoma, treatment may include the following:

For somatostatinoma, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor.
  • For cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • For tumors that continue to grow during treatment or have spread to other parts of the body, treatment may include the following:
    • Chemotherapy.
    • Targeted therapy.

Treatment of other types of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor.
  • For cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible or hormone therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • For tumors that continue to grow during treatment or have spread to other parts of the body, treatment may include the following:
    • Chemotherapy.
    • Targeted therapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with islet cell tumor. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Recurrent or Progressive Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors)

Treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) that continue to grow during treatment or recur (come back) may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent islet cell carcinoma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.