Case Report

Functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour causing Cushing’s syndrome: the effect of chemotherapy on clinical symptoms

13 Oct 2017
Paulo Henrique do Amor Divino, Katia Regina Marchetti, Madson Q Almeida, Rachel P Riechelmann

Background: Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are a heterogeneous group of diseases that can originate from any part of the gastrointestinal tract, bronchi, thyroid and pancreas. These tumours may be functioning or not depending on their ability to produce active substances, such as adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). ACTH-producing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are rare, with limited data about effective antitumor therapies.

Case Report: A 58-year-old man with a history of type-2 diabetes mellitus and arterial hypertension was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) secondary to an ACTH ectopic production from a well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumour of the pancreas metastatic to the liver. The patient underwent initial body-caudal pancreatectomy, splenectomy and hepatic nodulectomy with subsequent recurrence. Hepatic embolisation and somatostatin analogues were used to control CS but without success. Bilateral adrenalectomy led to CS control, while capecitabine and oxaliplatin (CAPOX) was effective in controlling tumour growth and ACTH production.

Discussion: ACTH-producing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are rare, aggressive and difficult to treat with available therapies. In settings of limited resources, such as in developing countries where targeted therapies are not available, cytotoxic chemotherapy with CAPOX represents a good and inexpensive option to control ACTH-producing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Because of its complexity, the management of this tumour should be performed by multidisciplinary teams.

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