More than 50% of patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) develop gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEPNETs), and insulinoma is the second most common functioning GEPNET. Compared to other functioning and nonfunctioning GEPNETs in MEN1, insulinoma is considered to develop at a younger age. To clarify the clinical features of insulinoma developed in Japanese patients with MEN1, a recently constructed database of Japanese MEN1 patients was analyzed. Among 560 registered cases, insulinoma was seen in 69 patients and information on age at diagnosis was available for 54 patients. Tumors predominantly occurred in the body and tail of the pancreas. The mean age at diagnosis of insulinoma (34.8 ± 16.7 yrs) was significantly younger than that of gastrinoma (50.6 ± 14.3 yrs) and nonfunctioning tumor (44.7 ± 13.3 yrs) in patients with MEN1. Patients diagnosed as having insulinoma during middle-age (30 - 49 yrs) tended to have a long period from appearance of hypoglycemic symptoms to diagnosis of the tumor. Of note, 13 patients (24%) were diagnosed as having insulinoma before 20 yrs of age. Such young onset was not seen in other GEPNETs. Since the development of GEPNETs during adolescence is quite rare, insulinoma diagnosed before 20 yrs strongly suggests the presence of MEN1 and warrants further investigation, including MEN1 genetic testing. Also, clinicians should be aware that insulinoma can often be missed in middle-aged patients.
The Japan Endocrine Society