Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 409, Issue 4, pp 547–554 | Cite as

Morphology of a GHRH producing pancreatic islet cell tumour causing acromegaly

  • W. Saeger
  • H. M. Schulte
  • G. Klöppel
Case report


A 54 year old woman suffered from acromegaly due to a pancreatic islet cell tumour producing GHRH. The tumour was demonstrated on CT scan. The diagnosis was established from elevated plasma levels of GHRH, GH and prolactin, and by the lack of signs of a pituitary adenoma in trans-sphenoidal surgery. Acromegaly was cured by tumour removal. Light microscopically, the tumour showed a medullary and microlobular pattern. The cells were large and often cuspidal. Small granules were found in semi-thin sections. Small aggregations of amyloid fibres were seen, mostly around capillaries. Immunocytochemistry revealed GHRH, NSE, neurotensin, serotonin, VIP and PP. S 100 was positive only in nerve fibres. Staining for GH, ACTH, calcitonin, α-HCG,β-HCG, insulin, glucagon, gastrin, substance P, bombesin and somatostatin was negative. Ultrastructure showed oval partly lobulated nuclei with small nucleoli, moderate amounts of rough endoplasmic reticulum, many free ribosomes, some large Golgi fields and small numbers of secretory granules measuring 150 nm or, in a few cells, 650 nm.

Only 4 other cases of pancreatic endocrine tumours causing acromegaly by ectopic GHRH secretion are described in the literature and these were similar to our case in many respects.

Key words

GHRH Immunohistology Pancreatic endocrine tumour Acromegaly 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Saeger
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. M. Schulte
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Klöppel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pathology of the Marienkrankenhaus Hamburg, Department of MedicineUniversity of EssenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Pathology of the University of HamburgGermany

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