Background: Gastric enterochromaffin-like cell (ECL) tumours can occur in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), especially in those affected by Zollinger Ellison syndrome (ZES). Since the prevalence of ECL lesions is not well defined yet, the present study evaluated the presence and extent of ECL lesions in MEN1 patients with and without ZES.
Methods: Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 patients being part of a regular screening program (2014-2018) underwent gastroduodenoscopies with biopsies of the stomach and determination of serum gastrin and chromogranin A levels. Haematoxylin- and immunostaining with chromogranin A, gastrin and VMAT I and II (vesicular monoamine transporter I and II) of the biopsies were performed.
Results: Thirty-eight MEN1 patients, of whom 16 (42%) were diagnosed and treated earlier for ZES, were analysed. In ten of 16 (62.5%) ZES patients, a locally scattered, mixed image of diffuse, linear and micronodular mild hyperplasia was present. In addition, two of these patients (13%) showed small (max 1.5 mm in size) intramucosal ECL tumours. Neither ECL changes, nor tumours were found in MEN1 patients without ZES (n = 22). In MEN1/ZES patients, the median serum gastrin level was significantly elevated compared to MEN1 patients without ZES (206 pg/ml vs. 30.5 pg/ml, p < .001). A subgroup analysis of the serum gastrin and chromogranin A levels of MEN1/ZES patients with or without ECL hyperplasia did not show significant differences (gastrin level: p = .302, chromogranin A: p = .464).
Conclusions: Enterochromaffin-like cell hyperplasia and gastric carcinoids occur only in MEN1 patients with ZES, but less frequently than reported.