Calcitonin

Alternate Names

  • HCT (Human Calcitonin)
  • Thyrocalcitonin
  • Tumor Marker

The thyroid gland secretes the hormone calcitonin, which regulates normal calcium levels throughout the body. Follow-up blood studies are usually done when high levels of calcitonin are present in the blood. The medications calcium and pentagastrin are given through an IV to stimulate the release of calcitonin, and calcium levels are again measured. Calcitonin levels are mainly used to diagnose thyroid cancer, monitor recurrence and how well you are responding to treatment, and as a screen for individuals who are at high risk for the development of this type of thyroid cancer. Treatment is very effective when this cancer is found early. High calcitonin blood levels are also seen in people with breast, lung, or pancreatic cancer, and in the non-cancerous conditions of cirrhosis due to chronic alcoholism, or thyroid infection.

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