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PTD - 190

Test Directory -  Calcitonin


Clinical Indications

Calcitonin is produced by the parafollicular or C-cells of the thyroid gland. Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a tumour of the calcitonin-producing C-cells which occurs in a sporadic and in an inherited form. As some MTCs are hereditary it is important to screen all family members for excess calcitonin when a case is diagnosed.
Calcitonin is also used in confirmed MTC to monitor treatment, assess prognosis and detect recurrence.


Referred test: Analysed by Biochemistry, Hammersmith Hospital if specific criteria met.

Specific Criteria

Screening, diagnosis or monitoring of MTC. In cases of familial origin, calcitonin can be used as a screening test.

Patient Preparation

Patient does not need to be fasting.

Turnaround Time

3 weeks




2 ml


Yellow top (SST) tube

Samples should be transported to laboratory immediately.

Causes for Rejection

Not meeting specific criteria for analysis. Delay in sample reaching laboratory. Visible haemolysis invalidates the results.

Reference Range

Less than 0.08 ug/L


In early disease basal levels of calcitonin may be normal. Increased diagnostic sensitivity may be obtained using pentagastrin stimulation.
Calcitonin may be raised in other malignancies (breast, lung, pancreas), phaeochromocytoma, renal failure, hyperparathyroidism and Paget's disease.

Lab. Handling

Processing: Centrifuge and aliquot immediately into 2 tubes and freeze at    -20C in separating freezer (CB40), active frozen rack 110.
CALT and send or BPRO and save in separating freezer (CB40) at -20C, saved frozen rack.

Version 1.0 / April 2014                                                                                                          Approved by: Consultant Biochemist