Prospective controlled trial of a standardized meal stimulation test in the detection of pancreaticoduodenal endocrine tumours in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
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Background: Use of a standardized meal stimulation test has been recommended for the early diagnosis of pancreaticoduodenal endocrine tumours (PETs) in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1). The diagnostic value of this test was re-evaluated. Methods: In a prospective, controlled trial 58 standardized meal stimulation tests (563 kcal) were performed in 12 patients with MEN 1 and histologically, biochemically and/or radiologically confirmed PETs (group 1), 11 carriers of an MEN 1 mutation with no evidence of PETs (group 2) and in 27 healthy controls (group 3). Serum pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and gastrin concentrations were measured before and during the test meal. Results: Patients in group 1 had significantly higher mean basal serum PP and gastrin concentrations than patients in group 2 and controls (P < 0.05). In all three groups an increase in serum PP was observed after meal stimulation, but there was no significant difference between the groups. No increase in gastrin level was found in any of the groups after meal stimulation. Conclusion: The standardized meal stimulation test does not reliably indicate the presence of PETs in patients with MEN 1, whereas raised basal serum PP and gastrin levels do. The expensive and time-consuming meal test can be excluded from MEN 1 screening programmes.