Calcitonin (Thyrocalcitonin)

CPT: 82308
Updated on 12/5/2017
Print Share

Test Details

Synonyms

  • Thyrocalcitonin

Use

Detection and confirmation C-cell hyperplasia (the precursor of medullary carcinoma of thyroid) as well as a tumor marker for diagnosis and management of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid gland. Preoperative serum calcitonin is reported to roughly correlate with tumor weight or extent of disease; therefore, postoperative levels also have prognostic application. The doubling time of serum levels correlates with a recurrence.1 Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type II includes medullary carcinoma of the thyroid, hyperparathyroidism, and pheochromocytoma (Sipple syndrome). MEN type IIB includes medullary carcinoma of the thyroid, pheochromocytoma, mucosal neuromas, marfanoid habitus, and intestinal ganglioneuromatosis.2 An important use of calcitonin assay is in follow-up of patients with medullary carcinoma and work-up of their families to detect early, subclinical cases. Indications for calcitonin assay include family history of unspecified type of thyroid cancer, calcified thyroid mass, thyroid tumor associated with hypercalcemia and/or pheochromocytoma, amyloid-containing metastatic carcinoma with unknown primary site and the presence of mucosal neuromas.3

Limitations

In a number of patients with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (especially those with familial medullary carcinoma of thyroid) the baseline calcitonin may be normal; however, an abnormally large calcitonin response may follow provocative infusion of calcium and/or pentagastrin4 (usually 3 to 20 times baseline). Most subjects with microscopic medullary carcinoma and all with C-cell hyperplasia have normal basal calcitonin levels; provocative testing is needed (see the online Endocrine Appendix: Calcium-Pentagastrin Stimulation). Occasional spurious high results are encountered. Hemolysis can cause spurious high levels. Calcitonin in patients' sera lacks immunoreactive uniformity. Calcitonin is not a screening test.

Methodology

Immunochemiluminometric assay (ICMA)

Reference Interval

Male: 0.0−8.4 pg/mL; female: 0.0−5.0 pg/mL

Additional Information

High concentrations of calcitonin occur not only in patients with malignant parafollicular or C-cell tumors (medullary thyroid carcinoma), but also in many patients with carcinomas of the lung; in some individuals with carcinoma of breast, carcinoids, islet cell tumors, apudomas, in patients with pancreatitis, thyroiditis and in renal failure. Hypergastrinemia may account for calcitonin elevations in the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and in pernicious anemia. Medullary carcinoma arises from thyroid C cells (parafollicular cells). C-cell hyperplasia is a preneoplastic state in patients with MEN. Provocative tests that may be used for diagnosis of medullary thyroid carcinoma are pentagastrin and calcium infusion.3 A combined calcium pentagastrin test is described in the see the online Endocrine Appendix: Calcium-Pentagastrin Stimulation.2,3 These tests are much more useful than random plasma levels of calcitonin for the diagnosis of MCT. Early diagnosis of medullary carcinoma of thyroid is needed; total thyroidectomy is curative if the tumor is treated early. Medullary carcinomas of the thyroid gland have a variable histologic picture. Correlation between serum calcitonin levels and immunoperoxidase staining of the neoplastic thyroid tissue for calcitonin may assist in confirming the diagnosis in difficult cases. The direct manifestation of high calcitonin levels is secretory diarrhea in 30% of patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen

Serum, frozen

Volume

1 mL

Minimum Volume

0.4 mL (Note: This volume does not allow for repeat testing.)

Container

Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube

Patient Preparation

Patient should be fasting.

Collection

Separate serum from cells. Transfer the serum into a LabCorp PP transpak frozen purple tube with screw cap (LabCorp N° 49482). Freeze immediately and maintain frozen until tested. To avoid delays in turnaround time when requesting multiple tests on frozen samples, please submit separate frozen specimens for each test requested.

Storage Instructions

Freeze.

Stability Requirements

Temperature

Period

Room temperature

Unstable

Refrigerated

Unstable

Frozen

90 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Temperature

Period

Room temperature

Unstable

Refrigerated

Unstable

Frozen

7 days

Temperature

Period

Room temperature

Unstable

Refrigerated

Unstable

Frozen

90 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Causes for Rejection

Gross hemolysis; specimen not received frozen; lipemia; plasma specimen

Clinical Information

Special Instructions

State on the request form if calcium infusion or pentagastrin injection tests are part of the patient preparation.

Values obtained with different assay methods should not be used interchangeably in serial testing. It is recommended that only one assay method be used consistently to monitor each patient's course of therapy. This procedure does not provide serial monitoring; it is intended for one-time use only. If serial monitoring is required, please use the serial monitoring number 480103 to order.

Footnotes

1. Miyauchi A, Matsuzuka F, Kuma K, et al. Evaluation of surgical results and prediction of prognosis in patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma by analysis of serum calcitonin levels. World J Surg. 1988; 12(5):610-615. 3245215
2. Mendelsohn G, Baylin SB. Medullary thyroid carcinoma: Diagnostic and clinical features. Lab Management. 1983; 21-31.
3. Gagel RF. Calcitonin in thyroid carcinoma and other disease. Lab Management. 1982; 35-48.
4. Guilloteau D, Perdrisot R, Calmettes C, et al. Diagnosis of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MCT) by calcitonin assay using monoclonal antibodies: Criteria for the pentagastrin stimulation test in hereditary MCT. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990; 71(4):1064-1067. 2401708

References

Austin LA, Heath H III. Calcitonin: Physiology and pathophysiology. N Engl J Med. 1981; 304(5):269-278 (review). 7003392
Boultwood J, Wynford-Thomas D, Richards GP, et al. In situ analysis of calcitonin and CGRP expression in medullary thyroid carcinoma. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1990; 33(3):381-390. 2253409
Ghillani PP, Motte P, Troalen F, et al. Identification and measurement of calcitonin precursors in serum of patients with malignant diseases. Cancer Res. 1989; 49(23):6845-6851. 2555054
Rougier P, Calmettes C, LaPlanche A, et al. The values of calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen in the treatment and management of nonfamilial medullary thyroid carcinoma. Cancer. 1983; 51(5):855-862. 6821852

LOINC® Map

Order Code Order Code Name Order Loinc Result Code Result Code Name UofM Result LOINC
004895 Calcitonin, Serum 1992-7 004896 Calcitonin, Serum pg/mL 1992-7

For Providers

Please login to order a test.

 

© 2017  Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings and Lexi-Comp Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CPT Statement/Profile Statement

The LOINC® codes are copyright © 1994-2017, Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Committee. Permission is granted in perpetuity, without payment of license fees or royalties, to use, copy, or distribute the LOINC® codes for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, subject to the terms under the license agreement found at https://loinc.org/license/. Additional information regarding LOINC® codes can be found at LOINC.org, including the LOINC Manual, which can be downloaded at LOINC.org/downloads/files/LOINCManual.pdf