Successful treatment of insulinoma by a single daily dose of octreotide in two elderly female patients

Published on Tuesday, 27 January 2015


We report two cases of insulinoma in advanced age patients considered unsuitable for surgery, in whom single daily doses of octreotide successfully improved hypoglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.

The biological half-life of octreotide is about 100 min, hence it is customary to use two or three administrations per day to prevent hypoglycemia in insulinoma patients.

The first case was a 76-year-old woman who presented with hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging did not identify a tumor in the pancreas but a 1.5-cm tumor was found in the pancreatic body on abdominal angiography and selective arterial calcium stimulation and hepatic venous sampling (ASVS) were compatible with insulinoma. The patient refused surgery, but was successfully treated with octreotide at 50 microg subcutaneous injection once daily. Since the treatment was started (1 year), she has not suffered hypoglycemia.

Case 2 was an 85-year-old woman who presented with hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. CT identified a 1.5-cm tumor in the pancreatic uncus, but she was considered unsuitable for surgery due to advanced age, obesity and cardiopulmonary dysfunction. Octreotide at 100 microg subcutaneous injection once daily prevented further hypoglycemic attacks, but two months later, postprandial plasma glucose was elevated. Octreotide was gradually reduced to 50 microg once daily. Three years have passed since the treatment without any hypoglycemic attack.

Successful treatment with octreotide once daily could be due to old-age-related slow metabolism and could be potentially considered as the treatment of choice for elderly patients with insulinoma especially those considered unsuitable for surgery.



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