Zollinger Ellison Syndrome
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a condition in which one or more tumors called gastrinomas form and produce too much of a hormone called gastrin, which can lead to peptic ulcers. Symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen and nausea.
Causes of Zollinger Ellison Syndrome
The majority (80%) of gastrinomas are sporadic (random), but 20% to 30% occur in association with a genetic (inherited) disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is very rare, and occurs most often in men aged 25 to 50.
Symptoms of Zollinger Ellison Syndrome
Pain in your upper abdomen.
Bloating and burping.
Gastroesophageal reflux (backup of stomach contents into the esophagus [food tube] that causes pain or a burning feeling).
Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.
Nausea and vomiting.
Steatorrhea (fatty stools).
Diagnosis of Zollinger Ellison Syndrome
Blood tests to look for abnormal levels of gastrin.
Imaging tests, such as a specialized ultrasound called EUS, CT scan, MRI imaging test, or a specialized scan called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (sometimes called an Octreotide scan).
Upper endoscopy - A physician uses an endoscope (a long, thin, flexible instrument with a camera) to examine the inside of the upper digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach and first portions of the small intestines.
Treatment of Zollinger Ellison Syndrome
Medication - Drugs called proton pump inhibitors reduce the production of stomach acid and help heal ulcers.
Surgery to remove gastrinomas.
Chemotherapy - Anticancer drugs to shrink gastrinomas and lower the levels of gastrin in the blood.