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Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms
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With pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms, neuroendocrine refers to pancreatic cells which release hormones in response to signals from the nerves, and neoplasm refers to a cancer.
So, pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasm is a cancer of neuroendocrine cells that are within the pancreas.
They can also be called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, or just panNETs for short.
In addition to endocrine cells, the pancreas also has exocrine cells, which make up a majority of the gland.
There’s also the endocrine part of the pancreas which has a few different types of islet cells, or neuroendocrine cells, each of which make different hormones.
These neuroendocrine cells are present in clusters, or islands, called islets of Langerhans.
The largest group of cells are the beta (β) cells which secrete insulin.
Another group are the alpha (α) cells which secrete glucagon, a hormone that does exactly the opposite of insulin, it raises the blood glucose levels by getting the liver to generate glucose from amino acids and lipids, and to break down glycogen into glucose.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine Tumors (PNETs) are a type of tumor that arises in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas. These tumors include insulinomas, gastrinoma, glucagonoma, and VIPomas, and secrete hormones including insulin, gastrin, glucagon, and vasoactive intestinal peptide respectively. Symptoms of PNETs may include abdominal pain, weight loss, and changes in bowel habits. Treatment options may involve drugs like somatostatin and surgery.
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