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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Insulinoma


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Overview

Insulinoma is a type of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pancreatic NET), which refers to a group of rare tumors that form in the hormone-making cells of the pancreas. Insulinomas, specifically, produce too much insulin, a hormone that reduces the level of sugar in the blood by helping it move into cells. As a result, people with insulinomas generally have very low blood sugar levels which can be associated with anxiety, confusion, hunger, a fast heart rate, and sweating. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures, coma or even death.[1][2][3] Ninty percent of insulinomas are benign (noncancerous). In most cases, the underlying cause of insulinoma is unknown. However, people with specific genetic syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type I, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Neurofibromatosis type 1, and tuberous sclerosis are at risk of insulinomas and other endocrine tumors.[4][1] Treatment generally includes surgery to remove the tumor.[2][3]
Last updated: 4/26/2016

References

  1. Insulinoma. MedlinePlus. October 2014; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000387.htm.
  2. Zonera Ashraf Ali, MBBS. Insulinoma. Medscape Reference. February 2016; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/283039-overview.
  3. F John Service, MD, PhD. Insulinoma. UpToDate. November 2015;
  4. Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms. NORD. 2014; http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/pancreatic-neuroendocrine-neoplasms-pnens/.
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Basic Information

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine offers an information page on Insulinoma Please click on the link to access this resource.  
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Insulinoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.