Insulinoma

  • Alternative Names

    Insuloma; Islet cell adenoma


    Treatment

    Surgery is the recommended treatment for insulinoma. The tumor is first found by tests or surgery. Medication may be used to get patients stable before surgery.

    If there is a single tumor it will be removed. However, if there are many tumors, part of the pancreas will need to be removed (partial pancreatectomy). At least 15% of the pancreas must be left to produce its enzymes. This may prevent the surgeon from removing the whole insulinoma tumor.

    If no tumor is found during surgery, or if you are not a candidate for surgery, you may get the drug diazoxide to lower insulin production and avoid hypoglycemia. A diuretic (water pill) is given with this medication to prevent the body from retaining fluid. Octreotide is used to reduce insulin release in some patients.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    In most cases, the tumor is non-cancerous (benign), and surgery can cure the disease. However, a severe hypoglycemic reaction or the spread of a cancerous tumor to other organs can be life-threatening.


    Complications
    • Severe hypoglycemic reaction
    • Spreading of a cancerous tumor (metastasis)

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you develop any symptoms of insulinoma. Convulsions and decreased consciousness are an emergency -- call 911 or your local emergency number.