Medullary thyroid cancer is a relatively rare type of thyroid cancer that often runs in families. In contrast to papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, which arise from the thyroid follicular cells, medullary thyroid cancer arises from the parafollicular cells (commonly known as C-cells) in the thyroid. The C-cells produce the hormone calcitonin, which has a minor effect on blood calcium levels. Calcitonin levels are also increased in patients with medullary thyroid cancer. Calcitonin can be measured as a blood test to help diagnose medullary thyroid cancer and its level can indicate the amount of medullary thyroid cancer present before thyroid surgery. After surgery, calcitonin can be used as a cancer marker to help determine if any cancer cells are remaining. If calcitonin levels normalize after surgery, it suggests that the cancer has not spread outside of the thyroid. Typically, calcitonin is measured about 3 months after thyroid surgery for medullary thyroid cancer. This study was designed to check how long it takes calcitonin to normalize after successful medullary thyroid cancer surgery.
THE FULL ARTICLE TITLE:
Machens A et al 2019 Time to calcitonin normalization after surgery for node-negative and node-positive medullary thyroid cancer. Br J Surg 106:412-418. Epub 2019 Feb 6. PMID: 30725475.
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The medical records of patients who had surgery for medullary thyroid cancer at a University teaching hospital in Germany between 1994 and 2018 were studied. Only those patients who did not need a second surgery had their information included in the study.