Insulinoma is a tumor that arises from the insulin secreting beta cells of the pancreas. It is one of several types of pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs) that originate from the pancreatic amine precursor uptake decarboxylase (APUD) cells.
Although the most common type of pancreatic endocrine tumor, insulimonas are extremely rare. They occur in one patient per million population annually. The most famous American diagnosed in the last several years with an insulinoma is Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer.
No environmental risk factors for the development of insulinoma have been identified.
Four genetic syndromes have been associated with pancreatic endocrine tumors, a percentage of which are insulinomas. These include most prominently multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 1 (parathyroid hyperplasia, pancreactic endocrine tumors, and pituitary adenomas), von Recklinghausen syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau disease, and tuberous sclerosis.
Approximately 4% of patients with insulinoma are found to have the other conditions characteristic of MEN type.