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Neuroendocrine Cancer Syndromes

Apr 26, 2022

Syndromes Explained

Neuroendocrine Cancer-related Syndromes occur due when Neuroendocrine Cancer causes changes to the cell resulting in the abnormal production and excess release of specific peptides and / or hormones by Neuroendocrine Cancer cells –
for example Carcinoid Syndrome (Serotonin, Histamine & Kinins).
 
These syndromes occur in approximately 40% of all Neuroendocrine Tumours, rarely occurring in Neuroendocrine Carcinomas.
 
FIND OUT MORE HERE
 

NETs – Hormone Syndromes and You – By Prof. John Newell-Price 

SYNDROMES

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is associated with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) that form in your pancreas or the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum). These tumours, called Gastrinomas, secrete large amounts of the hormone gastrin, which causes your stomach to produce too much acid. The excess acid then leads to peptic ulcers, as well as to diarrhoea and other symptoms, including acid reflux, heartburn, stomach/chest pain, diarrhoea and low haemoglobin (anaemia) causing tiredness.

Clinical Hypoglycaemia is associated with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) that form in your pancreas or the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum). These tumors, called Insulinomas, secrete large amounts of the hormone insulin, which causes your blood sugar levels to drop – sometimes quite severely. We need a certain blood sugar level to ensure our body (and all of it cells) has enough energy to function normally. When blood sugar levels drop too low, or too severely, this can lead to symptoms that may include dizziness, light-headedness, sweating, hunger, confusion & irritability. If the level drops too low or too severely this can even lead to coma / loss of consciousness. Symptoms often get better, are alleviated, by eating – so weight gain – sometimes to obese levels, rather than weight loss, can occur.

Clinical hypoglycaemia is proven through fasting blood tests, that are carried out in hospital, in order to be completed safely.

Werner-Morrison Syndrome

is associated with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) that form in your pancreas. These tumours, called VIPomas, secrete large amounts of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). This peptide helps regulate gastrin, it works to neutralise stomach acid when food leaves the stomach and enters the small bowel – which helps with nutrient uptake, and promotes the secretion of water and electrolytes by the small and large intestines. It also works to ensure that food passes through the small and large intestines slowly enough for nutrients from food to be absorbed properly (a process known as transit time). Too much VIP can result in reduced levels of acid in the stomach. very watery, frequent and high-volume diarrhoea (up to or in excess of 3 litres a day), and severe changes in potassium levels in the blood  (low potassium) – that may affect heart rate. Hospital admission may be required to deal with these symptoms – as severe symptoms can be life-threatening.

Glucagonoma Syndrome

is associated with Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) that form in your pancreas or the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum). These tumors, called Glucagonomas, secrete large amounts of the hormone glucagon, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise above normal. Glucagon works along with the hormone insulin to control blood sugar levels and keep them within set levels. When glucagon levels rise too high, this can lead to Necrotising Migratory Erythema (NME) – a skin rash that can spread across the body that may look like eczema. Glucagonomas may also cause symptoms of  diabetes, (like feeling tired, going pee a lot, dry mouth), nausea, weight loss and a low haemoglobin (anaemia). Diarrhoea, blood clots and other changes to skin, nails and hair may also occur.

Other syndromes include: