Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is characterized by the development of a tumor (gastrinoma) or tumors that secrete excessive levels of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates production of acid by the stomach. Many affected individuals develop multiple gastrinomas, which are thought to have the potential to be cancerous (malignant). In most cases, the tumors arise within the pancreas and/or the upper region of the small intestine (duodenum).
Due to excessive acid production (gastric acid hypersecretion), individuals with ZES may develop peptic ulcers of the stomach, the duodenum, and/or other regions of the digestive tract. Peptic ulcers are sores or raw areas within the digestive tract where the lining has been eroded by stomach acid and digestive juices. Symptoms and findings associated with ZES may include mild to severe abdominal pain; diarrhea; increased amounts of fat in the stools (steatorrhea); and/or other abnormalities.
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