What are the pancreatic endocrine and neuroendocrine glands?
The pancreas is an organ located deep in the abdomen that has two main functions. It produces digestive enzymes (exocrine pancreas) and also has islets of specialised endocrine cells “islet cells” scattered throughout it (endocrine pancreas). These cells secrete important hormones such as insulin, glucagon and gastrin. In addition, clusters of endocrine cells can be found in most organs of the body, especially those associated with an embryological organ know as the “neural crest”. Any of these cells can develop special tumours called “neuroendocrine” tumours. The commonest example is the carcinoid tumour which develops in the gastrointestinal tract or the lung. What are the indications for pancreatic endocrine or neuroendocrine surgery? Pancreatic endocrine or neuroendocrine surgery is generally recommended when a tumour develops in one of these structures. These tumours can be benign or malignant (cancer) and may present in one of two ways: • Local symptoms from the tumour mass or me