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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Feb;82(2):338-41.

Interest of routine measurement of serum calcitonin: study in a large series of thyroidectomized patients. The French Medullary Study Group.

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Service d'Endocrinologie, CHU la Timone, Marseille, France.


The aim of our study was to assess the ability of routine calcitonin (CT) measurement to improve the preoperative diagnosis of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in nodular thyroid diseases. We systematically determined basal CT in 1167 patients before thyroid surgery and performed a pentagastrin (Pg) CT stimulation test in 121 of these patients whose basal CT level was normal. Sixteen MTC (1.37%) were found on histopathological examination of surgical specimens: 14 in the 34 patients (41.1%) with abnormal basal CT levels and 2 in the 1133 patients with normal basal CT levels (0.17%). An abnormal increase in Pg-stimulated CT was observed in 7 of the 121 patients tested and was related to microscopic MTC in 2 cases. Among 1167 thyroidectomized patients with nodular thyroid diseases, the prevalence of MTC was 1.37% and reached 41.1% when the basal CT level was abnormal (3% of the patients). CT evaluation detected MTC, whereas other procedures, such as fine needle aspiration cytology, failed, thus allowing early radical surgery. CT measurement should thus become a routine part of the diagnostic evaluation of nodular thyroid diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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