Treatment with somatostatin analogs and chemoembolization of liver metastases for severe hypoglycemia in malignant insulinomas
J.C. Maiza1, D. Vezzosi1, S. Grunenwald1, P. Otal2, R. Guimbaud3, A. Bennet1, and P. Caron1
1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic diseases, CHU Larrey; 2Department of Radiology; 3Department of Medical Oncology, CHU Rangueil Toulouse, France

Background: Preventing hypoglycemia is of vital importance and a major challenge in patients with severe symptomatic hypoglycemia related to malignant unresectable insulinomas, but there is no consensus treatment. Patients: Five patients with malignant unresectable insulinomas were referred to our department for severe hypoglycemia. At referral the five patients were dependent on iv infusion of glucose solution. Patient 1 had a locally invasive 5-cm insulinoma, patients 2, 3 and 4 had multiple liver metastases and patient 5 had a 2.5-cm pancreatic tumor with multiple liver and lung metastases. Before referral to our department, 4/5 patients had been administered systemic chemotherapy and 3/5 therapeutic doses of radiolabeled octreotide without any benefit on blood glucose levels. Octreoscan scintigraphy was positive in 4 patients (patients 1-4). Diazoxide alone or combined with glucocorticoids had failed to control hypoglycemia. Continuous sc administration of octreotide (up to 1500 μg/day) resulted in normalization of blood glucose levels in patient 1. Chemoembolization of liver metastases normalized blood glucose levels in patient 2, minimized hypoglycemia in patients 3 and 4, and normalized blood glucose levels in patient 5 when followed by subcutaneous administration of octreotide (2000 μg/day). Chemoembolization had to be repeated four times in patient 3 to control blood glucose levels. Conclusion: Chemoembolization of liver metastases and high-dose octreotide in responsive patients (alone or combined with chemoembolization) can control severe hypoglycemia in patients with symptomatic malignant unresectable insulinomas; the efficacy of octreotide can be improved after chemoembolization of liver metastases. (J. Endocrinol. Invest. 34: e253-e258, 2011) ©2011, Editrice Kurtis

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