Clinical Guidelines and PTH Measurement: Does Assay Generation Matter?

Marjon A Smit, Caroline M J van Kinschot, Joke van der Linden, Charlotte van Noord, Snježana Kos
Endocrine Reviews 2019 December 1, 40 (6): 1468-1480
PTH is an important regulator of calcium and phosphate homeostasis and bone remodeling. It is metabolized into PTH fragments, which are measured to a different extent by PTH assays of different generations because of differences in fragments recognized and lack of assay standardization. PTH is measured in the workup of several conditions, and clinical guidelines provide recommendations concerning these measurements. This review provides an overview of the impact of differences between PTH assays, applying distinct clinical guidelines for primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism and perioperative use of PTH measurements. Guidelines deal with PTH measurement in different ways, recommending either trend monitoring, the use of a fold increase of the upper reference limit, or an absolute PTH cutoff value. For classic primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), the type of PTH assay used will not affect diagnosis or management because the precise concentration of PTH is less relevant. In chronic kidney disease, the guideline recommends treating secondary hyperparathyroidism above a twofold to ninefold PTH increase, which will result in different clinical decisions depending on the assay used. For patients after bariatric surgery, guidelines state absolute cutoff values for PTH, but the impact of different generation assays is unknown because direct comparison of PTH assays has never been performed. During parathyroid surgery, PTH measurements with a third-generation assay reflect treatment success more rapidly than second-generation assays. Increased awareness among clinicians regarding the complexity of PTH measurements is warranted because it can affect clinical decisions.

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