Biochemical markers in the follow-up of medullary thyroid cancer

Jan Willem B. de Groot, Ido P. Kema, Henk Breukelman, Eveline van der Veer, Theo Wiggers, John T. M. Plukker, Bruce H. R. Wolffenbuttel, Thera P. Links*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

41 Citaten (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) shares biochemical features with other neuroendocrine tumors but the particular characteristics are largely unexplored. We investigated the biochemical neuroendocrine profile of MTC and whether specific markers could be useful in follow-up. In addition to the standard tumor marker calcitonin, plasma carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA), plasma catecholamines, (platelet) serotonin, chromogranin A, tryptase, and urinary markers of catecholamine, histamine, and serotonin metabolism were prospectively determined in 46 patients with histologically proven MTC. Patients were divided according to the stage of disease: group 1, no evidence; group 2, stable disease (SD); and group 3, progressive disease (PD). Plasma dopamine was increased in the majority of the patients with SD and PD; however it did not correlate with extent of disease. Elevated plasma platelet levels of serotonin were only present in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 with SD or PD but did not differ between those groups. Histamine metabolites were elevated in 20% of patients with SD and PD. In addition to plasma calcitonin, only CEA and chromogranin A could differentiate between stable and progressive MTC. MTCs are capable of synthesizing catecholamines, serotonin, and histamine metabolites underscoring that MTCs have metabolic characteristics in common with other neuroendocrine tumors. Thus far, clinical usefulness and relevance seems limited. The most useful markers in the follow-up of MTC are plasma calcitonin and CEA.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1163-1170
Aantal pagina's8
Nummer van het tijdschrift11
StatusPublished - nov.-2006

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