Message Number: YG2176 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-04 18:38:00 UTC
Subject: Re: islet cell carcinoma

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Shortley, Lisa" <shortleylj@m...>
> Hello -
> I have a 4 1/2 year old ferret who started showing signs of
insolumnoma in
> December/January. He had what appeared to be a stroke two weeks
ago which
> has left him blind.

Interesting - ferrets do not have strokes - strokes are a peculiarly
human disease which is associated with atherosclerosis - a disease
yet to be diagnosed in ferrets. I have not doubt that he is blind -
blindness is not uncommon in ferrets, but I suspect that a good
retinal examination may suggest a degenerative process. In many
cases, diminished sight is not noticed until another problem is
identified, and the two are linked.

> He went in for insolumnoma surgery last Friday and my vet found two
> sized growths on his pancreas and a very large adrenal tumor.
> She cryosurgeried the adrenal tumor off and cut the masses off of
> pancreas. She said that they were really ugly and she didn't know
> what they were and recommended sending them to pathology. Of
course, this
> was fine with me.
> She called me yesterday with the pathology report. Islet cell
> One of the growths was actually Sterling's entire pancreatic
lymphnode. It
> had metacized onto his pancreas (which created the second tumor).
She said
> that they were so big and so close together, she originally thought
> were both from his pancreas.

I would like to see this report. There is a pancreatic lymph node
which is closely associated with the pancreas - this would not
represent a metastasis, but a normal structure - unless you mean that
the islet cell tumor has metastasized to the pancreatic lymph node
(which would be really rare.)

I generally don't call islet cell tumors as malignant or benign - the
diagnosis of carcinoma is usually based on the visual aspect of the
tumor, rather than actual metastasis, which for insulinomas is the
only proof of malignancy. In general, all insulinomas are considered
benign, but additional tumors commonly appear (40% of affected
ferrets develop additional neoplasms over time.)

> She said that there are more than likely a number of microscopic
> remaining that she couldn't see and couldn't remove that will
> grow.
> I'm upset and scared for him. Can anyone please tell me if they've
had any
> type of experience with this kind of cancer, send me a website, or
> to read more about it, give me an idea of what to expect on these
> months, and let me know the likelihood of him being okay and

If you run a search on the FHL website on insulinoma, you will find
all sorts of good information.
> Is there any chance that she removed all of the cancer from him or
am I just
> really hoping too much? Also, is this a form of lymphoma?

Honestly, I think there is a problem in communication here. The
story that you have told above has a kernel of truth, but appears to
be misconstrued. I would be interested to see the report verbatim,
and at that time, we can discuss it.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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