Hypergastrinemia in patients with pernicious anemia is a major regulator contributing to enterochromaffin–cell hyperplasia and, ultimately, to gastric carcinoids.
Between 1990 and 2003, we studied 8 women and 10 men with pernicious anemia and gastric carcinoids; their mean age was 50 years. Serum gastrin levels ranged from 740 to 4,000 pg/mL (mean 1,000 pg/mL). Six patients underwent antrectomy, four total gastrectomy, and eight endoscopic resection or biopsy. During the same period, 22 patients with Zollinger-Ellison tumors and hypergastrinemia (20 men and 2 women, mean age 49 years) had no gastric carcinoids, but 1 of 7 patients with Zollinger-Ellison and multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1) tumors had hypergastrinemia and gastric carcinoids.
Mean followup for pernicious anemia patients was 6 years after antrectomy and 1 to 10 years after endoscopic resection or biopsy. Tumor regression was observed in one patient after antrectomy and one patient after biopsy. There were no deaths in this group in spite of lymph node metastasis in two patients. The patient with Zollinger-Ellison and MEN1 syndrome has been followed 3 years after diagnosis and 2 years after total gastrectomy.
Gastric carcinoids are indolent tumors occurring with increasing frequency in patients with pernicious anemia. Antrectomy or biopsy and observation are preferred methods of treatment. Total gastrectomy is reserved for patients with extensive tumor involvement of the gastric wall or for emergency bleeding.