Pancreatologists have often divided research of the pancreas based upon the origin of the function or disease, namely the endocrine or exocrine pancreas. In fact, as a result, many of our meetings and conferences have followed separate paths. Interestingly, among patients with chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, both disorders of the exocrine pancreas, diabetes is common. However, the clinical features of the diabetes associated with these two differ. Peripheral insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are the predominant diabetic traits in pancreatic cancer, while reduced islet cell mass and impaired insulin secretion are observed more often in chronic pancreatitis. The causal relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer remains an intriguing but unanswered question. Since diabetes often precedes pancreatic cancer, it is regarded as a potential risk factor for malignancy. On the other hand, there remains the possibility that pancreatic cancer secretes diabetogenic factors. Regardless of how the science ultimately illuminates this issue, there is increasing interest in utilizing screening for diabetes to aid early detection of pancreatic tumor lesions. Therefore, in this issue of Pancreatology and the Web, we explore the topic of diabetes to keep us alert to this very important association, even if we study diseases of the exocrine pancreas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism