JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Prospective study of the standard meal provocative test in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this work was to evaluate the proposed usefulness of a standard meal-stimulated gastrin provocative test in: (1) distinguishing Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) from antral syndromes; (2) localizing duodenal gastrinomas; or (3) suggesting that patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN-I) may have an increased incidence of antral syndromes.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy-four consecutive patients with ZES referred to the National Institutes of Health were studied prospectively. The extent and location of gastrinomas, acid secretory studies, and the presence or absence of MEN-I were determined and correlated with the results of the gastrin response to standard meal provocative testing.

RESULTS: For patients with fasting serum gastrin levels less than 1,000 pg/mL (n = 43), only 44% had a less than 50% increase over the pre-meal value, which is reported to be the typical response in ZES, and 40% had a 50% to 99% increase. Furthermore 16% had a 100% or greater increase, 9% a 150% or greater increase, and 5% a 200% or greater increase, which overlaps with values reported to be characteristic of 98%, 92%, and 46% of patients with antral syndromes. Results did not differ for patients with or without MEN-I, depend on the extent of the gastrinoma (duodenal versus pancreatic gastrinomas), the presence of previous gastric surgery or type of gastric surgery, or for patients with fasting serum gastrin concentrations greater than or equal to 1,000 pg/mL or less than 1,000 pg/mL. studies of four patients before and after resection of the gastrinoma, who prior to surgery had a greater than 100% increase in gastrin secretion after the meal, demonstrated that all patients had a less than 100% increase postoperatively even though no gastric resection was done.

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately half of the patients with ZES have a greater than 50% increase in serum gastrin concentration following a standard test meal and one fifth have a 100% or greater increase. Therefore, they cannot be distinguished on this basis from patients with antral syndromes. The increased serum gastrin level after the meal in these patients with ZES appears to be due to the gastrinoma. Furthermore, the current study provides no evidence for the proposals that antral syndromes are more common in patients with MEN-I, that gastric surgery affects the meal response in patients with gastrinomas, or that the meal test is useful in localizing duodenal gastrinomas.

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