Are biochemical markers of neuroendocrine tumors coreleased with insulin following local calcium stimulation in patients with insulinomas?

Peter Wiesli, Heiko Uthoff, Aurel Perren, Thomas Pfammatter, Cornelia Zwimpfer, Heidi Seiler, René Kindhauser, Giatgen A Spinas, Christoph Schmid
Pancreas 2011, 40 (7): 995-9

OBJECTIVES: The objective was to test whether chromogranin A (CgA), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) are released from the pancreas during the selective arterial calcium stimulation and hepatic venous sampling test (ASVS) in patients with insulinomas.

METHODS: We determined CgA, NSE, PP, insulin, C-peptide, and proinsulin in blood samples obtained during the ASVS test in 19 patients with insulinomas. Levels following calcium injection into the arteries supplying the tumor were compared with levels following calcium stimulation of arteries supplying healthy pancreatic tissue.

RESULTS: After calcium injection into the artery supplying the insulinoma, a significant 8-fold increase in insulin (range, 2.3-117; P < 0.001), a 3.8-fold increase in C-peptide (1.7-32.4; P < 0.001), and a 1.9-fold increase in proinsulin (0.7-5.3, P < 0.001) were detectable whereas NSE and CgA did not increase. No significant increases in insulin, C-peptide, proinsulin, CgA, and NSE concentrations were found after calcium injection into control arteries. Pancreatic polypeptide increased 1.5-fold (0.8-4.5; P = 0.017) after calcium injection into the tumor artery and 2.4-fold (0.8-7.9; P = 0.016) after injection into the control artery.

CONCLUSIONS: Insulin, C-peptide, and proinsulin are released by insulinoma cells in response to arterial calcium stimulation, whereas CgA and NSE are not released. Also from our study it seems that PP may be released by healthy islet cells after calcium stimulation.


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