Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a rare disorder that leads to tumors on the pancreas. The condition predominantly affects people between 20 and 50, and while it is not fatal, it medication for managing symptoms. Approximately one in one million adults have Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and men are more likely to develop it than women. In rare instances, the tumors may become cancerous and demand more intensive treatment than medication.


1. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome and the Pancreas

For reasons researchers have yet to understand, ZES causes multiple tumors or gastrinomas to grow in and around the pancreas. Sometimes, these tumors also develop in the first section of the small intestine, the duodenum. Gastrinomas release excessive amounts of a digestive hormone called gastrin. Normally, gastrin is necessary to promote proper digestion of food because it triggers secretion of hydrochloric acid and other gastric juices. However, too much gastrin in the stomach promotes peptic ulcers in the upper intestine and duodenum.

Location of the pancreas Raycat / Getty Images

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