Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor

Metastatic Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor

Knowing that former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, who had a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, was treated with surgery, a modified Whipple procedure, what is this type of pancreatic cancer?

Steve Jobs Dead from Pancreatic Cancer

Steve Jobs Dead from Pancreatic Cancer Respiratory Arrest

The death certificate, released by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and obtained by The Associated Press, said Jobs had a metastatic pancreas neuroendocrine tumor for the past five years. It listed his immediate cause of death as respiratory arrest.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (also known as Islet cell carcinoma) are a type of neuroendocrine tumor found in the pancreas. Only 5 percent of pancreatic tumors arise in the islet cells. (The vast majority of tumors found in the pancreas are adenocarcinoma, which is more commonly referred to as pancreatic cancer.

Some pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are functional, which means they produce excess hormones that can lead to a variety of hormone-related symptoms. (Nonfunctional tumors do not produce hormones.) There are several types of functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. They are:

This type of tumor produces too much or too little insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar (glucose). Insulinomas can cause low blood sugar, which leads to symptoms such as dizziness and light-headedness.

These tumors may interfere with the production of glucose in the blood, causing an elevation of blood sugar and diabetes. Rarely, glucaganomas can cause a skin rash when they become advanced.

These tumors disrupt the production of a variety of hormones, leading to diabetes, gallstones, and an inability to digest fats.

This type of tumor increases the production of gastrin, a stomach acid that aids in digestion and can lead to the formation of stomach ulcers.

This type of tumor disrupts the production of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), which helps control the secretion and absorption of water in the intestines. VIPomas can cause severe diarrhea.

These tumors produce excessive amounts of growth hormone release factor, which can lead to sudden growth of the hands and feet (acromegaly).

These tumors produce excessive amounts of the hormone ACTH. Too much ACTH increases the production of steroids, which can lead to weight gain, depression, easy bruising, increased risk of infection, and darkened skin.

Source:Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

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