Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a rare disorder characterized by tumors called gastrinomas in the pancreas, duodenum, or both.
Gastrinomas result in excess gastric acid, which can lead to ulcers in the duodenum.
Anyone can get ZES, but the disease is more common among men 30 to 50 years old or in people who have an inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).
ZES symptoms are similar to those of peptic ulcers.
A doctor diagnoses ZES by assessing symptoms, measuring stomach acid and the amount of gastrin circulating in the blood, and conducting imaging tests to look for gastrinomas.
ZES is treated with medications to relieve ulcer symptoms and surgery, if appropriate, to remove tumors. ZES is sometimes treated with chemotherapy.
The outcome for people with ZES largely depends on the nature and extent of the gastrinomas. About 25 percent of gastrinomas are considered cancerous. If peptic ulcer symptoms are well controlled, however, most patients—even those with tumors that spread—will feel well until the late stages of the disease.
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