Histopathology, hormone products, and clinicopathological profile of endocrine tumors of the upper small intestine: A study of 44 cases

Carlo Capella, Cristina Riva, Guido Rindi, Fausto Sessa, Luciana Usellini, Annamaria Chiaravalli, Luciano Carnevali, Enrico Solcia

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Forty-two duodenal and 3 upper jejunum tumors from 44 patients were investigated. All tumors were tested immunohistochemically for gastroenteropancreatic hormones and general endocrine cell markers. Twenty-eight of the 45 tumors (62%) proved to be gastrin cell tumors, with (12 cases) or without (16 cases) associated Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome was part of type 1 multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome in 3 cases. Twenty-three of the 28 gastrin cell tumors (82%) were from proximal duodenum, 2 were from the second part of the duodenum, and 3 were from the upper jejunum. Seven cases were somatostatin cell tumors, 6 of which were from the ampullary region; 5 cases were associated with biliary tract disease and 2 with associated cutaneous neurofibromatosis. Four ganglioneuromatous paragangliomas, from the ampullary region or nearby duodenum, showed somatostatin cells, coupled with pancreatic polypeptide cells in 2 cases. Two serotonin-producing argentaffin carcinoids were also identified. In addition to the main cell type, 30 tumors showed one or more, usually minor, cell populations producing somatostatin, serotonin, cholecystokinin, pancreatic polypeptide, insulin, neurotensin, or the alpha chain of human chorionic gonadotropin. Only 3 tumors lacked hormone immunoreactivity. Some correlation has been noted between histological structure and hormone content of tumor cells, with prevalence of broad gyriform trabeculae and vascular pseudorosettes among gastrin cell tumors, tubuloacinar patterns among somatostatin cell tumors, thin parallel trabeculae among PP cell growths, and a solid nest pattern among argentaffin carcinoids. Deep infiltration of the intestinal wall was observed in 22 tumors, 6 of which also had metastases to local lymph nodes. All metastatic cases were among ZES tumors or ampullary somatostatin cell tumors. Ganglioneuromatous paragangliomas and nonfunctioning gastrin cell tumors had essentially benign behavior, even when involving deep strata of the intestinal wall. Post operative follow-up study of 36 cases, including all metastatic tumors, showed no evidence of tumor-related death or progressive tumor disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-110
Number of pages19
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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