Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


The calcitonin gene encodes a family of peptides, at least three of which normally circulate in man: calcitonin (CT), a calcium-lowering hormone; katacalcin (KC), a peptide of unknown function; and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide and potent vasodilator. In a study of 45 patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), plasma CGRP was elevated in approximately 50% of cases. Furthermore, CGRP levels did not correlate with CT levels. However, plasma KC was elevated in all cases, with a good correlation with CT levels, as has been noted previously. Measurement of CT or KC appears to be superior to measurement of CGRP for the detection of MTC.