Clinical aspects of ECL-cell abnormalities.Yale J Biol Med. 1998 May-Aug; 71(3-4):303-10.YJ
ECL cell hyperplasia results from hypergastrinemia, and in man this occurs due to achlorhydria in atrophic gastritis (pernicious anemia [PA]) and gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome [ZES]). Progression to neoplasia, i.e., ECL cell carcinoids (usually small, multicentric and non-functional), occurs in some five to 10 percent of patients with PA where they remain gastrin-dependent and reversible by normalization of serum gastrin by antrectomy. Even if untreated, the carcinoids are almost invariably benign and do not cause death. In ZES, ECL cell hyperplasia is progressive due to hypergastrinemia. However, carcinoids develop only in the MEN-I subtype but pose no additional threat of malignancy. A conservative approach is recommended for small multicentric carcinoids, and the tumors do not need removal. By contrast, single, large, non-gastrin-dependent carcinoids represent a different biological and clinical problem and are frequently malignant.