Glucagonoma is a very rare
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Glucagonoma is usually cancerous (malignant). The cancer tends to spread and get worse.
This cancer affects the islet cells of the pancreas. As a result, the islet cells produce too much of the hormone glucagon.
The cause is unknown. Genetic factors play a role in some cases. A family history of the syndrome multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (
Symptoms and signs
- Glucose intolerance (body has problem breaking down sugars)
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
- Excessive thirst (due to high blood sugar)
- Frequent urination (due to high blood sugar)
- Increased appetite
- Inflamed mouth and tongue
- Nighttime (nocturnal) urination
Skin rash on face, abdomen, buttocks, or feet that comes and goes, and moves around
- May be crusty or scaly
- May be raised sores (lesions) filled with clear fluid or pus
- Unintentional weight loss
In most cases, the cancer has already spread to the liver when it is diagnosed.
Tests may include:
CT scan of the abdomen
Glucagon level in the blood
Glucose level in the blood
Surgery to remove the tumor is the preferred treatment. The tumor does not usually respond to
Approximately 60% of these tumors are cancerous. It is common for this cancer to spread to the liver. Only about 20% of people can be cured with surgery.
If the tumor is only in the pancreas and surgery to remove it is successful, patients have a 5-year survival rate of 85%.
The cancer can spread to the liver. High blood sugar level can cause metabolic problems and tissue damage.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of glucagonoma.