Islet cell tumors of the pancreas are rare tumors and approximately 2500 cases of pancreatic islet cell tumors are seen in the United States each year. These tumors are often also called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Islet cell tumors of the pancreas are different from adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. These tumors are derived from neuroendocrine cells and tend to be slow growing tumors that are treatable even after they have metastasized. Islet cell tumors can produce dramatic symptoms since up to half of these tumors may secrete hormones that produce side effects.