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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Calcitonin concentrations in patients with chronic kidney disease and medullary thyroid carcinoma or c-cell hyperplasia

K A Borchhardt, H Heinzl, A Gessl, W H Hörl, K Kaserer, G Sunder-Plassmann
Kidney International 2006, 70 (11): 2014-20
17051143
It is currently not known which level of pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin serum concentration indicates medullary thyroid carcinoma in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). We examined CKD stage 3-5 patients who had total thyroidectomy because of a pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentration greater than 100 pg/ml, and tested the diagnostic performance of basal and pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin levels for differentiating medullary thyroid carcinoma and C-cell hyperplasia in this patient population. A total of 180 CKD patients presented with an elevated calcitonin level and had a pentagastrin stimulation test. Forty patients showed a maximum pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentration greater than 100 pg/ml, and 22 patients had a total thyroidectomy. Seven of these 22 patients presented with a medullary thyroid carcinoma, all other patients showed C-cell hyperplasia. Patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma showed higher unstimulated (212 pg/ml (36-577) vs 42 pg/ml (17-150); P < 0.001) and higher maximum pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentrations (862 pg/ml (431-2423) vs 141 pg/ml (102-471); P < 0.001) as compared to patients with C-cell hyperplasia. The sensitivity (100%) and specificity (93%) estimates suggested that a maximum pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentration greater than 400 pg/ml indicates the presence of medullary thyroid carcinoma in patients with CKD. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis revealed an area under the ROC plot of 0.99 for maximum pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentrations. A maximum pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin concentration greater than 400 pg/ml appears to be a clinically meaningful threshold for thyroidectomy.

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