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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Dec;90(12):6370-2. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Third- or second-generation parathyroid hormone assays: a remaining debate in the diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism.

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Department of Hormonal Biology, Saint-Louis University Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, 1 avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75475 Paris Cedex 10, France.



Since the demonstration that the second-generation PTH assays, also called intact PTH assays, recognize a non-1-84 PTH fragment in addition to the intact 1-84 PTH, new PTH assays defined as third-generation assays have been commercialized. Two previous studies aimed at evaluating whether these third-generation PTH assays improved the diagnostic sensitivity for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), but they yielded opposite results.


In the present study we compared two second-generation PTH assays (the total intact PTH assay from Scantibodies Laboratory, Inc., and the intact PTH assay from Nichols Institute Diagnostics) with two third-generation assays (the cyclase-activating PTH assay also from Scantibodies Laboratory and the bio-intact PTH assay from Nichols Institute) in a series of 145 consecutive PHPT patients operated in our endocrine surgery department over a 10-month period. A group of 74 healthy subjects served as controls.


The diagnostic sensitivities for PHPT of the total intact, the intact, the cyclase-activating, and the bio-intact assays were 93.8%, 97.3%, 84.2%, and 89.0%, respectively, with 95% confidence intervals in the control groups of 10-46, 11-60, 8.4-34, and 9-41 ng/liter, respectively.


Our findings demonstrate that the diagnostic sensitivities of second- and third-generation PTH assays are similar. Third-generation PTH assays do not therefore improve the diagnosis of elevated serum PTH levels in PHPT, although there are numerical differences among the values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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