Four years following resection of a medullary carcinoma of the thyroid, a 49‐year‐old man experienced elevated serum calcitonin levels. There was no evidence of metastasis. A re‐exploration of the patient's neck demonstrated a histologically normal thyroid remnant that demonstrated C‐cell hyperplasia by immunoperoxidase staining. The lack of a familial history, a normal parathyroid, and the absence of C‐cell hyperplasia in non‐tumorous thyroid of the original resection support the concept that the patient had a sporadic tumor. Patients who have undergone incomplete thyroidectomies for non‐familial disease are at risk for developing C‐cell proliferation and possibly medullary carcinoma. We conclude that the C‐cell hyperplasia in this thyroid remnant is the source of the elevated calcitonin level; this mechanism may also explain postoperatively elevated calcitonin levels in some patients with medullary carcinoma treated by partial thyroidectomy and high calcitonin levels for a variable period after complete thy‐roidectomy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - Nov 1 1981|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research