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Article title: Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome: NIDDK
Main condition: Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Conditions: Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
The tumors are cancerous in 50 percent of cases. They secrete a substance called gastrin that causes the stomach to produce too much acid, which in turn causes the stomach and duodenal ulcers (peptic ulcers). The ulcers caused by Zollinger-Ellison syndrome are more painful and less responsive to treatment than ordinary peptic ulcers. What causes people with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome to develop tumors is unknown, but the cause may be an abnormal tumor suppressor gene.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome usually occurs in people between ages 30 and 60. Symptoms include signs of peptic ulcers: gnawing, burning pain in the abdomen; diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; fatigue; weakness; and weight loss. Physicians diagnose Zollinger-Ellison syndrome through blood tests to measure levels of gastrin. They may check for ulcers by taking x-rays of the stomach and duodenum or by doing an endoscopy, which involves looking at the lining of these organs through a lighted tube.
Medications used to reduce stomach acid include cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine, and omeprazole. Surgery to treat peptic ulcers or to remove tumors in the pancreas or duodenum are other treatment options. In serious cases, surgery to remove the entire stomach may be necessary.
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E-mail: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1980, the clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NDDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about digestive diseases.
Publications produced by the clearinghouse are carefully reviewed for scientific accuracy, content, and readability.
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NIH Publication No. 00-4692
e-text last updated: February 2000
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