The effects of recent diagnostic and therapeutic advances were assessed in 65 patients with the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES). Twenty-seven patients seen between 1955 and 1970 were compared with 38 patients seen between 1971 and 1977. The earlier patients had a higher incidence of virulent ulcer disease (56% vs 24%), other endocrinopathies (48% vs. 13%), and malignant gastrinoma (44% vs. 25%). Earlier diagnosis is the result of liberal use of serum gastrin measurements and provocative tests for gastrin release (calcium and secretin), and an increased awareness of this syndrome. Because their basal gastrin values were in a range that overlapped ordinary ulcer disease, 47% of patients encountered in recent years required provocative testing with secretin for diagnosis. If the gastrin concentration falls to normal following resection of a gastrinoma, the tumor has probably been completely removed. In our patients, gastrin measurements after total gastrectomy had no prognostic significance in regards to clinical progression or regression of the neoplasm. Of 12 patients treated with cimetidine, nine experienced symptomatic improvement, and three did not. Resection of the gastrinoma should be attempted if the lesion is solitary and located in the body or tail of the pancreas, or if it is an isolated duodenal lesion. Otherwise, total gastrectomy remains the treatment of choice. In 38 patients, total gastrectomy with Roux-en-Y esophagojejunostomy was followed by 97% survival and minimal difficulties with nutrition or dumping.
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