Improved Control of Severe Hypoglycemia in Patients with Malignant Insulinomas by Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy

Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Erasmus Medical Center, 's Gravendijkwal 230, 3015 CE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.21). 09/2011; 96(11):3381-9. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2011-1563
Source: PubMed


Insulinomas are relatively rare neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. Only 10% are considered malignant. Control of insulin hypersecretion and hypoglycemia in patients with malignant insulinomas may be extremely difficult. Different medications and chemotherapy schedules have been used.
Five patients with metastatic insulinomas and severe, poorly controllable, hypoglycemia are described. These patients required continuous glucose infusion to control severe hypoglycemia, which were induced by the high levels of insulin secretion. Conventional medications, such as diazoxide, or streptozotocin-based chemotherapies had been used to control hypoglycemia but were ineffective and/or produced adverse effects. All patients were treated with sc octreotide.
Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy with radiolabeled-somatostatin analogs was used.
After the start of radiolabeled somatostatin analog therapy, the five patients with metastatic insulinomas had stable disease for a mean period of 27 months. During these months, the patients were without any hypoglycemic episodes. Finally, three of five patients died because of progressive disease.
Radiolabeled somatostatin analog therapy can stabilize tumor growth and can be very successful in further controlling severe hypoglycemia in malignant insulinomas. In our series, this eventually resulted in improved survival outside the hospital setting.

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Available from: Saima Khan, May 22, 2014
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