Heterogeneity of glucagonomas due to differential processing of proglucagon-derived peptides

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Benjamin G Challis, Nicolai J Wewer Albrechtsen, Vishakha Bansiya, Keith Burling, Peter Barker, Bolette Hartmann, Fiona Gribble, Stephen O'Rahilly, Jens J Holst, Helen L Simpson

UNLABELLED: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNETs) secreting proglucagon are associated with phenotypic heterogeneity. Here, we describe two patients with pNETs and varied clinical phenotypes due to differential processing and secretion of proglucagon-derived peptides (PGDPs). Case 1, a 57-year-old woman presented with necrolytic migratory erythema, anorexia, constipation and hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. She was found to have a grade 1 pNET, small bowel mucosal thickening and hyperglucagonaemia. Somatostatin analogue (SSA) therapy improved appetite, abolished hypoglycaemia and improved the rash. Case 2, a 48-year-old male presented with diabetes mellitus, diarrhoea, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and perineal rash due to a grade 1 metastatic pNET and hyperglucagonaemia. In both cases, plasma levels of all measured PGDPs were elevated and attenuated following SSA therapy. In case 1, there was increased production of intact glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and GLP-2, similar to that of the enteroendocrine L cell. In case 2, pancreatic glucagon was elevated due to a pancreatic α-cell-like proglucagon processing profile. In summary, we describe two patients with pNETs and heterogeneous clinical phenotypes due to differential processing and secretion of PGDPs. This is the first description of a patient with symptomatic hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia and marked gastrointestinal dysfunction due to, in part, a proglucagon-expressing pNET.

LEARNING POINTS: PGDPs exhibit a diverse range of biological activities including critical roles in glucose and amino acid metabolism, energy homeostasis and gastrointestinal physiology.The clinical manifestations of proglucagon-expressing tumours may exhibit marked phenotypic variation due to the biochemical heterogeneity of their secreted peptide repertoire.Specific and precise biochemical assessment of individuals with proglucagon-expressing tumours may provide opportunities for improved diagnosis and clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150105
JournalEndocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports
Volume2015
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
ISSN2052-0573
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 152286555