Diagnosis of pancreatic endocrine tumours.
In about 10% of patients with a tumour which secretes vasoactive intestinal peptide, the plasma concentration of neurotensin is found to be elevated. A very small proportion of patients have a pure neurotensinoma. In these cases, the patient is asymptomatic.
Fast the patient completely overnight. Take blood (10 mL) using a syringe and needle.
Transfer the blood (10 mL) to a heparin tube (do not exceed 20 U/mL blood) containing Trasylol (aprotinin, 0.2 mL, 2000 KIU). Mix by inversion. Place on ice and transfer to the laboratory. Separate the plasma in a refrigerated centrifuge. Visible haemolysis invalidates the result. Freeze the plasma at -20C within 15 min of venepuncture. Send plasma (5 mL) to the SAS laboratory. Ensure the sample remains frozen during transport.
Adults (fasting): <100 pmol/L;
Adults with endocrine tumours producing neurotensin : >500 pmol/L
Centre offering this assay
London Imperial Charing Cross Hospital Endocrine Laboratory