Last Reviewed : 12/24/2020

An insulinoma is a tumor of the pancreas that is derived from beta cells and secretes insulin. It is a rare form of a neuroendocrine tumor. Most insulinomas are benign in that they grow exclusively at their origin within the pancreas, but a minority metastasize. Insulinomas are one of the functional PanNET group ("functional" because it increases production of insulin; "PanNET" as an abbreviation of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor). In the Medical Subject Headings classification, insulinoma is the only sub-type of "islet cell adenoma".

Beta cells secrete insulin in response to increases in blood glucose. The resulting increase in insulin acts to lower blood glucose back to normal levels at which point further secretion of insulin is stopped. In contrast, the secretion of insulin by insulinomas is not properly regulated by glucose and the tumors will continue to secrete insulin causing glucose levels to fall further than normal.

As a result, patients present symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), which are improved by eating. The diagnosis of an insulinoma is usually made biochemically with low blood glucose, elevated insulin, proinsulin and C-peptide levels and confirmed by localizing the tumor with medical imaging or angiography. The definitive treatment is surgery.


We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.


Basic information: health line insulinoma medline plus insulinoma new york times insulinoma,219/john hopkins medical library insulinoma merck manuals(professional version) insulinoma health hype insulinoma university of maryland medical center insulinoma


Advanced information: medscape insulinoma radiopedia insulinoma dove med insulinoma healio insulinoma with negative 72-hour fasting test, severe hypoglycemia after glucagon diapedia insulinoma insulinoma & whipple triad – surgery (update)



Jyotsna vp, raizada n, chakraborty s, pal s. Acanthosis nigricans in insulinoma. Indian j endocr metab [serial online] 2014 [cited 2017 jan 2];18:739. Available from: p. Dames, m. Weise, r. Puff, et al., “suppression of the nuclear factor eny2 increases insulin secretion in poorly functioning ins-1e insulinoma cells,” experimental diabetes research, vol. 2012, article id 460869, 8 pages, 2012. Doi:10.1155/2012/460869 pancreatic insulinoma co-existing with gastric gist in the absence of neurofibromatosis-1 by edward alabraba et al., world journal of surgical oncology20097:18 doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-7-18 : hamilton a, basic v, andersson s, abrink m, ringvall m (2015) loss of serglycin promotes primary tumor growth and vessel functionality in the rip1-tag2 mouse model for spontaneous insulinoma formation. Plos one 10(5): e0126688. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126688 han sung kim, tae-young han, and yeong-min yoo, “melatonin-mediated intracellular insulin during 2-deoxy-d-glucose treatment is reduced through autophagy and edc3 protein in insulinoma ins-1e cells,”oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, vol. 2016, article id 2594703, 11 pages, 2016. Doi:10.1155/2016/2594703 leptin induces inflammation-related genes in rinm5f insulinoma cells by paul hekerman et al., bmc molecular biology20078:41 doi: 10.1186/1471-2199-8-41 : kim mk, cho jh, lee jj, son mh, lee kj (2015) proteomic analysis of ins-1 rat insulinoma cells: er stress effects and the protective role of exenatide, a glp-1 receptor agonist. Plos one 10(3): e0120536. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120536

Arunraj s t, damle na, bal c, gupta y, pal s. Insulinoma - the incremental value of somatostatin receptor positron emission tomography. Indian j endocr metab [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 jan 2];21:255-6. Available from: teraoka y, ide k, morimoto h, tahara h, ohdan h (2013) expression of recipient cd47 on rat insulinoma cell xenografts prevents macrophagemediated rejection through sirpa inhibitory signaling in mice. Plos one 8(3): e58359. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058359 lee ns, rohan jg, zitting m, kamath s, weitz a, et al. (2012) a novel dual-color reporter for identifying insulin-producing beta- cells and classifying heterogeneity of insulinoma cell lines. Plos one 7(4): e35521. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035521 ersin borazan, alper aytekin, latif yilmaz, et al., “multifocal insulinoma in pancreas and effect of intraoperative ultrasonography,” case reports in surgery, vol. 2015, article id 375124, 4 pages, 2015. Doi:10.1155/2015/375124 a. Janez, “insulinoma causing liver metastases 15 years after initial surgery, accompanied by glomerulonephritis,” case reports in endocrinology, vol. 2012, article id 168671, 3 pages, 2012. Doi:10.1155/2012/168671 emre bozkirli, okan bakiner, huseyin abali, et al., “a case of inoperable malignant insulinoma with resistant hypoglycemia who experienced the most significant clinical improvement with everolimus,” case reports in endocrinology, vol. 2013, article id 636175, 6 pages, 2013. Doi:10.1155/2013/636175 okabayashi t, shima y, sumiyoshi t, et al. Diagnosis and management of insulinoma. World journal of gastroenterology?: wjg. 2013;19(6):829-837. Doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i6.829.


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Other helpful resources(support groups): insulinoma support network


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