Malignant insulinoma: Report of 6 patients and literature review.

OBJECTIVE: Patients with malignant insulinoma always present with symptoms of severe hypoglycemia and have poor life expectancy. In addition, inoperable metastatic malignant insulinomas are very difficult to manage. The aim of this report is to present our successful experiences in diagnosis and treatment of this disease in 6 patients.

PATIENTS/METHODS: Six patients (male 2, female 4) with malignant insulinomas were admitted into our hospital. Their clinical histories, including clinical presentations, endocrine evaluations, radiological images, pathological examination and treatments, were reviewed.

RESULTS: The diagnosis of malignant insulinoma combined with liver metastases was confirmed in all patients by endocrine evaluation and radiological images. Patients 1-3 underwent surgical management. The primary and metastasized tumors were completely resected. After successful surgery, no hypoglycemia recurred. Patients 4-6 did not undergo surgery because of systemic disease and poor health. Instead, they were administrated with diazoxide 50 mg Three Times a Day (TID), with final doses up to 200-300 mg TID. These 3 patients had good responses to diazoxide administration. After treatment, the frequency and severity of hypoglycemia were improved significantly. All 6 patients had better life quality than previously expected.

CONCLUSION: Combination of surgical and medical approaches can improve life quality and prolong survival of patients with malignant insulinomas.

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