Glucagon - plasma

Last updated: Monday, 22, March, 2004

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Item Process

The patient should fast overnight; 5 mL blood in special EDTA/trasylol tube, collected on melting ice and delivered immediately to the laboratory.



Reference Interval

25-250 µg/L.


Diagnosis of functional glucagonoma, in patients with diabetes mellitus and other suggestive features eg, necrolytic migratory erythema, diarrhoea, weight loss and glossitis.


The test lacks specificity, with elevated glucagon levels occuring in acute illness and in patients with diabetes mellitus who do not have a functional glucagonoma.

The diagnosis of a functional glucagonoma requires appropriate clinical features (as above), the presence of a pancreatic tumour and hyperglucagonaemia.

Many glucagonomas are non-functional.


Tomassetti P et al. Ann Oncol. 2001; 12 Suppl 2: 95-99.