The pancreas has an important endocrine function, and it synthesizes insulin and glucagon, the most important hormones in energy balance. Insulin is released when there is too much glucose in the blood, and it would open channels in the muscle fibers and other cells of the body to incorporate insulin and reduce its concentration in the blood. Glucagon is released when there’s not enough insulin in the body –as in prolonged fasting- and stimulates the formation of glucose from other sources of energy.
Certain pancreatic tumors affect the cells that produce insulin while others originate in glucagon-producing cells. In both cases, they create an alteration of the metabolism of energy, more commonly associated with diabetes symptoms. 1% of patients with new-onset type 2 diabetes may have pancreatic cancer, especially if they are over 70 years of age. This might seem a very small number, but it is a very large number of patients keeping in mind the incidence of this disease in our population.