Hormone and metabolic research = Hormon- und Stoffwechselforschung = Hormones et metabolisme 2017 11 23() doi 10.1055/s-0043-122237
Calcitonin (CT), a tumor marker for medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), can be stimulated with pentagastrin or calcium. Because of the unavailability of pentagastrin, basal CT measurement is frequently used for the preoperative diagnosis of MTC. The aim of the study was to define basal serum calcitonin (bCT) cut-off thresholds for diagnosing MTC. Within a retrospective analysis, 114 patients (51 males) were included fulfilling the criteria of an increased preoperative bCT level (>10 pg/ml) and the criteria of an available postoperative histology analysis. Based on a ROC plot analysis, the cut-off values for the diagnosis of MTC vs. non-malignancy (C cell hyperplasia and goiter) were identified. The most precise bCT thresholds for the identification of MTC were ≥46 pg/ml for males (sensitivity: 93.6%, specificity: 95.0%, PPV: 97%, NPV: 90%) and ≥35 pg/ml for females (sensitivity: 87.3%, specificity: 87.5%, PPV: 98%, NPV: 50%). Using these cut-offs, only 6% of male patients were not identified of having MTC, whereas 5% were false positive (having instead C cell hyperplasia). In females, the discrepancy was higher since 13% of female MTC patients were false negative by using the cut-off of ≥35 pg/ml, and 13% had false positive results (suffering from C cell hyperplasia). Gender-specific bCT cut-offs for the identification of MTC vs. C cell hyperplasia and non-malignancy were defined, which can be used in clinical routine. In female patients, however, the accuracy is much lower compared to males.