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Calcitonin is a 32 amino acid peptide synthesised, stored and secreted by the C-cells of the thyroid. 
Measurement of calcitonin is useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), a rare tumour, accounting for only 10% of all thyroid carcinomas. MTC can occur as a sporadic tumour or inherited as part of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2). C-cell hyperplasia can increase calcitonin concentration and response to calcium infusion can be used to distinguish hyperplasia from MTC.
NB. Calcitonin is only useful as a screening test in patients where there is a known family history of MTC.
Sample requirements and reference range
Sample type  Plasma
Container  Lithium heparin
Precautions  Separate and freeze plasma. Transport frozen.
Minimum volume  1 mL
Reference range  <9 ng/L
Turnaround time  14 days
Method  Siemens Immulite
Quality Assurance
Last Updated: 11 January 2021