Plasma pancreatic polypeptide, PP, human pancreatic polypeptide
This test measures a substance in your blood called pancreatic polypeptide. Pancreatic polypeptide is secreted by cells in your pancreas.
People who have neuroendocrine tumors have higher levels of this substance. These tumors can be functional or nonfunctional. Nonfunctional tumors are more common. They are called nonfunctional because they secrete substances that do not cause symptoms. That means they may not cause any symptoms until they have grown large.
You may need this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. When these tumors cause symptoms, they can seem similar to many other common digestive problems. Symptoms of nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors include:
Yellowish color of the skin (jaundice)
If you have already been diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, you may need this test to help your healthcare provider decide on the best treatment for you.
Your healthcare provider may also order other tests to look for other substances in your blood that rise if you have a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. These substances are called biochemical tumor markers.
Your provider may also order an imaging test that takes a picture of your pancreas. He or she may also order a biopsy. This involves taking out a small piece of the tumor and looking at it under a microscope.
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
Pancreatic polypeptide is measured in picograms per milliliter (pg/mL).
A high blood level may mean you have:
A pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor
Another type of endocrine pancreatic tumor
The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand.
Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore.
Eating before the test will cause pancreatic polypeptide levels to rise.
You will need to fast for 8 hours before this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.