Insulinoma is the most common pancreatic endocrine tumor, accounting for 40% of all pancreatic functional neoplasm, and is characterized by hypersecretion of insulin and hypoglycemia. Elective treatment for insulinomas is surgical enucleation. Medical therapy with diazoxide, followed by somatostatin analogues in some cases, may be necessary to treat the hypoglycemic symptoms. We report a case of a patient affected by metastatic insulinoma with severe hypoglycemia. After surgery, histopathology confirmed the presence of a malignant insulinoma with multiple metastases in the liver. Due to the persistence of hypoglycemia, the patient was started on octreotide LAR treatment, which determined a complete clinical remission with regression of the metastatic lesions in the liver after one year. Repeated CT scans 2 and 3 years after surgery confirmed the remission. To our knowledge, the complete regression of the disease in insulinomas treated with long-standing somatostatin analogue therapy has never been reported. Immunohistochemical analysis in tissue specimens showed a strong membrane immunoreactivity for somatostatin receptors type 2 (SSTR2) in both the primary nodule and the metastases. The capacity of somatostatin analogues to negatively regulate cell proliferation through indirect and direct mechanisms has been experimentally demonstrated. Furthermore, SSTR2 activation may exert proapoptotic effects in neoplastic cells. Thus, both mechanisms may have been responsible of the remission of the disease in this patient. This case underlies the potential impact of the treatment of pancreatic insulinomas with somatostatin analogues, and, if confirmed, the usefulness of SSTR determination in these neoplastic specimens.
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