Pancreatic polypeptide in islet cell tumors. Morphologic and functional correlations

T Tomita, J R Kimmel, S R Friesen, V Doull, H G Pollock
Cancer 1985 October 1, 56 (7): 1649-57
Twelve islet cell tumors and one islet cell hyperplasia were studied with immunocytochemical and radioimmunoassay methods. With immunocytochemical staining, all six insulinomas, one mixed insulinoma-glucagonoma, and four gastrinomas were positive for insulin, insulin and glucagon, and gastrin, respectively. Pancreatic polypeptide (PP) was positive in three insulinomas and one mixed insulinoma-glucagonoma. All of the tumors were positive for neuron-specific enolase (NSE). Radioimmunoassays of tissue extracts further disclosed that all functioning tumors contained more than one pancreatic hormone. PP concentrations of two insulinomas and one mixed insulinoma-glucagonoma were higher than that of normal control pancreases. A study of protein meal-stimulated PP secretion revealed that three of the insulinoma cases and two gastrinoma cases exhibited higher plasma PP levels than the age-matched controls. The findings suggest that: both functioning and nonfunctioning islet cell tumors derive from neuroendocrine cells positive for NSE; all functioning islet cell tumors appear to contain PP in the tumor tissue as a minor component; as many as 70% of the patients with islet cell tumors present with abnormally higher plasma PP levels after protein meals; and a study of meal-stimulated PP secretion may well be used as a marker for the presence of functional islet cell tumors.


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