JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Prognostic value of initial fasting serum gastrin levels in patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

PURPOSE: To assess the value of the initial fasting serum gastrin (FSG) at presentation in patients with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES) in predicting primary tumor characteristics and survival.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 239 patients were treated for ZES between December 1981 and September 1998, with a mean follow-up of 9.1 +/- 0.6 years. At initial evaluation, 86 patients (36%) had mild (0 to 499 pg/mL), 61 (25.5%) had moderate (500 to 1,000 pg/mL), and 92 (38.5%) had severe (> 1,000 pg/mL) elevations in FSG. Primary tumor location and size, presence of lymph node or hepatic metastases, and survival were analyzed based on the level of initial FSG.

RESULTS: In patients with sporadic ZES, but not in those with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1) and ZES, there was a significant relationship between the level of initial FSG and tumor size and location of primary tumor, frequency of lymph node and liver metastases, and survival. The median 5- and 10-year survival decreased with increasing initial FSG (P <.001) in patients with sporadic ZES; MEN-1 patients lived longer than sporadic ZES patients (P =.012), and survival in this group was not associated with the level of initial FSG. Multivariate analysis showed that factors independently associated with death from disease in patients with sporadic ZES were liver metastases (P =.0001), a pancreatic site (P =.0027), and primary tumor size (P =.011) but not initial FSG (P >.30).

CONCLUSION: The severity of FSG at presentation is associated with size and site of tumor and the presence of hepatic metastases, factors that are significant independent predictors of outcome. The level of FSG at presentation may be useful in planning the nature and extent of the initial evaluation and management in patients with sporadic ZES.

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