Vipoma Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Vipoma Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Vipoma is a very rare endocrine cancer that originates in pancreatic cells called islet cells. This disease is also known by the name or vasoactive intestinal peptide-producing tumor.

In cell vipoma, the levels of the hormone VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) in the body are very high, up to 2–10 times normal. So that it can cause several symptoms, especially those related to the digestive system, namely diarrhea.

Complications that can occur with vipoma are dehydration, heart attack due to low potassium levels, and cancer that spreads or metastasizes. If it has spread, vipoma is difficult to cure.

Vipoma usually occurs at the age of 50 years. Women are known to suffer from this disease more often than men. This cancer is a rare type. Every year only 1 in 10 million people are diagnosed with Vipoma.

Vipoma Symptom

Vipoma symptoms that generally appear include:

  • abdominal pain or stomach feeling bloated
  • diarrhea or liquid bowel movements which are usually watery and many times up to ten times a day or 700ml-3L per day
  • Stools are usually odorless and tea-colored without mucus or blood
  • dehydration
  • flushing or redness of the face
  • muscle cramps due to hypokalemia (low calcium levels)
  • nauseous
  • weight loss

Vipoma Reason

The exact cause of vipoma is still unknown until now. Cancer that originates from pancreatic cells causes high VIP hormones. This hormone increases the secretion (producing substances such as digestive enzymes) from the intestine. The VIP hormone also relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive system.


To determine the diagnosis of vipoma, the doctor will conduct a detailed interview to find out the symptoms and course of the disease. The main symptom of this disease is diarrhea, which occurs even during fasting. These symptoms can be persistent for years before a diagnosis is made.

A thorough physical examination will also be carried out to look for signs and symptoms of vipoma, such as:

  • signs of dehydration (tachycardia [rapid heartbeat], decreased skin turgor and weight loss)
  • Weak muscles due to potassium deficiency
  • hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver) due to a tumor that has spread to the liver
  • flushing on the face due to the VIP effect
  • excessive sweating
  • failure to thrive
  • dilated large intestine or colon
  • glucose intolerance

Investigations and other tests will also be carried out to help confirm the diagnosis of vipoma, such as:

  • simple blood test and metabolic panel
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Abdominal MRI
  • stool examination to determine the cause of diarrhea and electrolyte levels
  • VIP blood levels are usually 2–10 times greater than normal levels (20–30 pmol/L)

Vipoma Treatment

The main goal of vipoma treatment is to improve hydration status. Vipoma patients are usually dehydrated. So it is necessary to give fluids usually through an IV to replace fluids lost due to diarrhea.

Furthermore, treatment aims to relieve diarrhea. The drug used is octreotide which is a natural hormone that blocks VIP activity. Octreotide can control diarrhea in up to 90 percent of people with vipoma. Glucocorticoids can also reduce symptoms in up to 50 percent of vipoma sufferers.

The best way to cure is through surgery to remove the tumor. If the tumor has not spread to other organs, surgery can often cure vipoma. However, about one-third to one-half of vipomas have spread to other organs by the time they are diagnosed.

For cases that are progressive or spreading, chemotherapy is needed. or radiotherapy. Streptozocin, doxorubicin, fluorouracil or a combination of these drugs can help even if only a few cases recover. External radiotherapy can be performed for inoperable cases of localized vipoma.

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