Calcitonin

This test is used to measure the amount of the calcitonin in your blood. Calcitonin is a hormone secreted (put out) by the thyroid gland. The purpose of this blood test is to check patients that are suspected to have a medullary cancer (tumor) of the thyroid. It is also used to measure the response of treatment, and to determine the response to treatment. It can be used to predict recurrence of this type of cancer.

The levels of this hormone are also measured after giving medications to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormone. These are the calcium infusion and the pentagastrin injection listed below. A normal gland will produce more calcitonin when it is stimulated.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

An overnight fast is required; however, water is permitted.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Basal (plasma)

  • Males: less than 19 pg/ml or less than 19 ng/L (S1 units)

  • Females: less than 14 pg/ml or less than 14 ng/L (S1 units)

  • Calcium infusion (2.4mg/kg)

  • Males: less than 190 pg/ml or less than 190 ng/L

  • Females: less than 130 pg/ml or less than 130ng/L

  • Pentagastrin injection (0.5 ug/kg)

  • Males: less than 110pg/ml or less than 110 ng/L

  • Females: less than 30pg/ml or less than 30ng/L

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.