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Alternative Names Return to topVasoactive intestinal peptide-producing tumor; Pancreatic endocrine tumor
Definition Return to top
VIPoma is a very rare type of cancer that usually grows from certain cells in the pancreas.
Causes Return to top
VIPoma causes cells in the pancreas to produce high levels of a hormone called vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). This hormone increases secretions from the intestines and relaxes some of the smooth muscles in the GI system.
The cause is not known.
VIPomas are usually diagnosed in adults, most commonly at age 50. Women are more likely to be affected than men. This cancer is rare, affecting an estimated 1 in 10 million people per year.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Signs may include:
Treatment Return to top
The first goal of treatment is to correct dehydration. Fluids are often given through a vein (intravenous fluids) to replace fluids lost in diarrhea.
The next goal is to slow the diarrhea. Some medications can help control diarrhea. Ocreotide, which is a man-made form of a natural hormone, blocks the action of VIP.
The best chance for a cure is surgery to remove the tumor. If the tumor has not spread to other organs, surgery can often cure it.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Surgery can usually cure VIPomas. However, in one-third to one-half of patients, the tumors have spread by the time of diagnosis and are not curable.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
If you have watery diarrhea for more than 2-3 days, call your doctor.
References Return to top
Jensen RT, Norton JA. Endocrine tumors of the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 31.Update Date: 9/4/2008 Updated by: Sean O. Stitham, MD, private practice in Internal Medicine, Seattle, Washington; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.