Pancreatic Pathology Online
Pathology of Islet Cell Tumours of the Pancreas
Islet cell tumours of the Pancreas are rare, indolent, Neuroendocrine Tumours
Dr Sampurna Roy MD July 2016
Islet cell tumours are rare pancreatic or peripancreatic neoplasms that produce and secrete hormones to a variable degree.
These neuroendocrine tumours arise from the endocrine pancreas.
Islet cell tumours range from benign to malignant.
The tumours are best divided on clinical grounds into those that produce a recognizable, clinically evident endocrine syndrome (ie, functioning) and those that exhibit no clinical evidence of hormone production (ie, clinically silent or nonfunctioning).
Clinically, silent tumours produce symptoms due to mass effect because of their large size. They are often partially cystic or necrotic.
Nonfunctioning tumours contain various peptides on immunohistochemical stain but do not secrete these substances sufficiently to cause clinical symptoms.
Nonetheless, they have the same malignancy and metastatic rate as most of the functional tumours.
Because these tumours have a better overall prognosis, total or subtotal resection should be carried out, since the long-term survival is increased by tumour bulk reduction or curative resection when possible.
Functioning islet cell tumors usually manifest earlier in the course of the disease because of the distinctive signs and symptoms of the associated endocrine syndrome.
Microscopic image of 'islet cell tumour' of the Pancreas
Larger tumors are associated with calcification, cystic degeneration and necrosis, and a more aggressive behavior (local and vascular invasion as well as distant metastases).
Treatment and prognosis of these lesions depend on the hormone produced, their size, and their behavior.
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