Context: Insulinoma is a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor that causes hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. Symptomatic hypoglycemia related to hepatic insulinoma metastases may be addressed with liver-directed therapies such as hepatic artery embolization. Objective: This work aimed to determine the safety and effectiveness of bland hepatic artery embolization (HAE) for palliation of symptomatic hypoglycemia in patients with hepatic insulinoma metastases refractory to medical management. Methods: An institutional review board-approved retrospective review was undertaken of all patients with a tissue (n = 18) or imaging (n = 2) diagnosis of hepatic insulinoma metastases and symptomatic hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia refractory to medical management who underwent bland HAE at a single center between January 1, 1998 and November 1, 2020. Twenty patients (10 women, 10 men; mean age, 56 years; range, 18-84 years) were identified who individually underwent 1 (n = 7), 2 (n = 5), 3 (n = 5), 4 (n = 2), or 5 (n = 1) HAEs, for an overall total of 45 HAEs. Post-HAE hypoglycemia recurrence was defined as onset of adrenergic symptoms (eg, sweating, weakness, tremor), neuroglycopenic symptoms (eg, confusion, loss of consciousness), and/or documented serum glucose of less than 50 mg/dL, in the absence of an alternative explanation. Median time to first hypoglycemia recurrence, hypoglycemia-free survival (HFS), and overall survival (OS) were calculated using Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Before HAE, all patients experienced adrenergic or neuroglycopenic symptoms alleviated by glucose intake, and 60% (n = 12) of patients had documented serum glucose of less than 50 mg/dL within 1 week of the first treatment. Median post-HAE follow-up was 9.4 months (mean, 26 months; range, 0.1-190 months). Postprocedural hypoglycemic symptom relief after the first HAE was reported in 100% (n = 20) of patients before discharge or at follow-up. Post-HAE hypoglycemia recurrence occurred in 60% (n = 12) of patients with a median time to first hypoglycemia recurrence of 2 months (mean, 14 months; range, 0.2-60 months). After the first HAE, median HFS was 14.5 months, and median OS was 16 months. One patient experienced labile postprocedure blood glucose levels requiring intensive care unit admission for intravenous dextrose. Otherwise, no major procedure-related complications occurred. Conclusion: Bland HAE is a safe, effective, and repeatable procedure for palliation of symptomatic hypoglycemia in patients with hepatic insulinoma metastases refractory to medical management.
- bland hepatic artery embolization
- polyvinyl alcohol particles
- transarterial chemoembolization
- transcatheter arterial
- treatment refractory hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism