Chromogranin A (CgA) is a neuroendocrine tumor (NET) marker. Modest CgA elevation is found in subjects with enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell hyperplasia due to hypergastrinemia. Somatostatin analogs reduce CgA levels in patients with NET. Meals may affect serum CgA levels. The aims of the study were to investigate meal-induced CgA release and the short-term effect of octreotide on serum CgA levels. Four groups were studied: group A, seven patients with ECL cell hyperplasia secondary to use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs); group B, six patients with gastric carcinoid type 1/ECL hyperplasia due to chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG); group C, six patients with nongastric NETs; group D, seven controls. The subjects were studied on three separate days with the use of three exposures: a test meal, pentagastrin subcutaneously (not group C), and octreotide intravenously. Serum CgA and gastrin were analyzed. A test meal induced a significant CgA increase in long-term PPI users and in healthy controls. The meal did not affect CgA levels in patients with gastric carcinoid type 1 or patients with NETs. The test meal increased gastrin levels in all groups except in those with CAG. Pentagastrin increased CgA levels in all groups tested except in those with CAG, while octreotide, reduced CgA and gastrin levels in all groups. Serum CgA should be determined in fasting individuals. A test meal may distinguish between increased CgA levels in PPI users from nongastric NET patients. Concomitant gastrin determination may help to discriminate between nongastric NETs and CAG. Intravenous octreotide rapidly reduces serum CgA.
A meal test improves the specificity of chromogranin A as a marker of neuroendocrine neoplasia