As clinical experience with patients with ZES has grown, increasing recognition has been made of the broad spectrum of symptoms associated with gastrinomas. Diarrhea and acid-induced esophageal injury have taken their place alongside chronic peptic ulcer disease as indications for screening for gastrinoma. Diagnostic testing should begin with fasting serum gastrin levels and should include intravenous secretin infusion if fasting serum levels of gastrin are nondiagnostic and the patient is not found to be hypochlorhydric. Tumor localization is critical to aid in the identification of patients with potentially curable localized disease. Preoperative evaluation utilizing CT scanning with intravenous contrast should be done early and should be supplemented by other imaging modalities as necessary. Exploratory laparotomy, including a thorough examination of the duodenum and perhaps intraoperative ultrasound, should be performed in all patients with sporadic gastrinoma who lack evidence of extensive metastatic disease on preoperative evaluation. By utilizing this approach, it is likely that at least 20% of patients with ZES can be cured. With the availability of the highly effective H(+)-K(+)-ATPase inhibitor omeprazole, excellent control of symptoms related to gastric acid hypersecretion can be expected. Patients with unresectable gastrinoma may thus avoid potentially morbid antisecretory surgery and be managed with a fairly simple medical regimen. Further developments in the chemotherapeutic management of these patients with unresectable disease should be forthcoming in the future.
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